What If…

Posted: July 2nd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 78 Comments »

Marvel Comics used to run a series called “What If…”. They would then present an interesting twist on a scenario and show you how the different outcome of a situation could have had major implications. All humans play the What If game from time to time. What if I’d taken that job? What if I had asked that girl out? What if my parents had gone bowling that night many years ago instead of…well, you know?

I love to play the What If game with the Eagles. Here are some of the top scenarios. Obviously we don’t know what specifically would have happened but it is fun to imagine. Also, you have to keep these reasonable. Asking what would have happened if we took Tom Brady in the 5th round in 2000 is useless. He became a star in part because of who took him, when they took him, who he played with and who coached him. You have to be reasonable.

What if…

Jeff Fisher was hired as coach in 1991. Norman Braman chose Rich Kotite because he wasn’t a Buddy Ryan guy. Braman was sick of Ryan and his antics. Fisher was the more popular assistant and the man most felt would get the job. Braman threw a major curveball when he hired Kotite instead.

Fisher would have had better relations with the players. How that would have translated on the field is tough to say. The real key here would have been who Fisher hired to run the offense and defense. Would he have stuck with Kotite as OC or gone elsewhere? It is unlikely that Bud Carson gets the DC job. Fisher would have likely chosen another Ryan protege. That could have been good or bad, depending on who the coach was. That defense was so stacked that the results would have been good no matter who was hired, but Carson must get a lot of credit for Gang Green becoming great in 1991.

The huge impact with Fisher would have come in free agency. It would have been harder for all the stars who left to walk away from Fisher. Leaving Kotite was easy. Heck, it probably pushed away some players. Obviously money was the real key, but Fisher also might have been able to convince Braman that it was worth it to pay big bucks for some of the players.

The big question with Fisher is whether he could have helped guide that group to the Super Bowl. That seems unlikely given that he was a young coach and that was such a bizarre team, but you never know. The right blend of personalities could have produced the right results. Buddy made things worse with his over-the-top personality. Fisher was more of a politician and could have helped some troubled relationships.

Randall hadn’t gotten hurt. The discussion about the early 1990’s Eagles going to the Super Bowl is greatly impacted by the health of Randall Cunningham. His knee injury in 1991 was a devastating blow to the offense. The Eagles were 3rd in yards and points in 1990. Cunningham was at the top of his game (30 TD passes, 942 rushing yards). The offense in 1991 had 17 TD passes and 1396 rushing yards. Take away the dynamic guy from that bunch and there is no way to quantify the impact.

I don’t think there is any question that the 1991 Eagles would have done better than 10-6 with Randall out there the whole year. Even a 13-3 season, though, doesn’t guarantee postseason success. Randall’s magic went away in the playoffs. The difference might have been the defense. That group came of age in 1991 under Bud Carson. Maybe they could have been so dominant in the playoffs that just 10 points would have won the game. That would have eased the pressure on Cunningham.

Cunningham’s health also ties into the future. If healthy, he wouldn’t have had the confidence issues in 1992. And Jim McMahon wouldn’t have been as much of a threat to him. In 1993 the Eagles started 4-0 with Randall at QB before he got hurt. If he stays healthy the whole year, that group could have gone to the playoffs. That was a flawed team, but still had some talent.

Doug Scovil hadn’t died. Randall never properly developed as an NFL QB. Part of this is on his work habits. Part is on circumstances. Playing QB for Buddy Ryan means you won’t have a normal support system. Buddy’s instructions to Randall were to go make a few plays so we can win. There were still offensive coaches, but the HC sets the tone. Scovil was an assistant that connected well with Randall. He was the QB coach from 1986-89. He died in December of 1989. I think Scovil might have been the last Eagles coach Randall really trusted. He didn’t get along with Kotite. Gruden and Rhodes might as well have been from Mars.

I don’t know that Scovil would have ever gotten Randall to embrace working at QB in the classroom the way that he needed to, but it certainly would have helped the situation. Randall needed some tough love, but the message had to come from the right person. As we found out, Kotite wasn’t the right person.

Jerome Brown hadn’t died. This is a tough one to think about. Brown was a real key player for Gang Green. He was a stout run defender and good inside pass rusher. Guys like that are hard to find. Just as important, he was the key to the locker room. That defense had some strong, odd personalities. The guy who enabled them to work well was Jerome. He got Seth Joyner to lighten up. He got Reggie to be more of a clown.

We don’t know how long Jerome would have stayed an Eagle. We don’t know how long he would have been an impact player. The 1992 defense was 6th in yards and points without him. Just imagine how good they would have been with him. Emmitt Smith averaged 58 rushing yards per game against Jerome (3.51 ypc). Emmitt broke loose in 1992 and beyond without Brown in the middle to clog things up. How might that have been different?

The Eagles never replaced Jerome the player or person.

The Eagles had traded for Mark Brunell in 1995.  Many people don’t know that the Eagles came very close to landing Brunell. Ray Rhodes and Jon Gruden knew him from their time in Green Bay. They wanted him. The Eagles could see the writing on the wall with Randall after the bad ending in 1994 and his injuries in 1991,1993. Acquiring a young QB would have been ideal.

The problem was that Brunell only wanted to sign a 3-year deal. He wanted to hit free agency in his prime so he could cash in on a huge payday. The Eagles wanted a 5-year deal and then lowered that to 4. Brunell stuck to his guns and the Jaguars snuck in late to steal him away.

Can you imagine the 1995-97 teams with Brunell at QB? He was an ideal fit for the WCO. Gruden could manufacture yards with his scheming and creative playbook, but those teams finished 21st, 9th and 19th in points scored. The Red Zone was an issue. Putting a talented, mobile QB in that system would have delivered great results.

It is hard to guess what might have happened in terms of the playoffs. The 1995 Eagles were bounced by the Cowboys. The 1996 Eagles were bounced by the Niners. Those were outstanding teams. Beating them in January even with Brunell would have been difficult. Still, giving a franchise QB to Rhodes and Gruden would have been very interesting.

Bernard Williams wasn’t a pothead. The Eagles spent a 1st round pick in 1994 on OT Bernard Williams, a star from Georgia. He had a good rookie season and the future looked bright. He then got suspended for 4 games for a drug violation. That turned into a year suspension when he failed another test. And then he was just out of the league.

If Williams had managed to control his pot use (or give it up altogether), the Eagles could have had a stud LT. Instead, 1995-1997 was a wasteland at that spot. The Eagles tried a variety of players and got mediocre results. Sometimes worse, much worse. Williams at LT would have meant that Jermane Mayberry could have stayed at OG through his whole career. He might have developed into a really good player early on. Williams also would have meant better protection for the group of QBs who did line up from 1995-1997. Those guys took a beating.

The other interesting point here is that we spent an early pick on Tra Thomas in 1998. With Williams in his prime, that pick could have gone for an impact LB like Takeo Spikes, big DE like Vonnie Holliday or maybe some help for the offense. That was the year Randy Moss came out, but he wasn’t on the Eagles draft board.

Jeremiah Trotter never left. There is no question that the 2002 and 2003 Eagles defenses had some issues up the middle. If the Eagles had kept Jeremiah Trotter, those defenses would have been tougher against inside runs. They would have also gotten more big plays from MLB. In 2001, Trot had 3.5 sacks, 2 INTs, 10 PDs, 2 FFs and 12 TFLs. Levon Kirkland, Barry Gardner and Mark Simoneau filled Trot’s spot while he was away. In 2 years, they combined for 3 sacks, no INTs, 12 PDs, 6 FFs and 5 TFLs.

Trot would have really helped the 2003 team, which gave up 210 and 155 rushing yards in 2 playoff games. I don’t know if Trot’s presence would have been good enough to get the Eagles to the Super Bowl over the Panthers, but he would have made a difference in that game.

TO didn’t go nuts. The NFC was not a great conference in 2004. The AFC was stronger, with the Pats, Colts and Steelers as the juggernauts. The Eagles were the only big dog in the NFC. With or without Terrell Owens, the Eagles might have finally broken through and gotten to the Super Bowl.

Still, you can’t dismiss TO’s impact on the team. Not only was he a great player, he was a huge personality and a world class trash-talker. The Eagles needed something like that back then. The team had been business-like from 2000-2003. That served those teams well as they built toward something.

The 2004 team was really good. They needed to play that way, but acting that way wasn’t a bad thing either. The Eagles lost to some bad teams during the Reid years. The 2004 Eagles went 13-1 with the starters on the field. The only loss was to the Steelers, who went 15-1 that year. TO helped the Eagles play with an edge. That confidence, that attitude…that was a good thing in 2004.

TO got ticked off in the spring of 2005 because he wanted more money. He was cut after the year and signed with Dallas. TO got a decent deal from Dallas, but at what cost. That was the last big deal he ever got. His antics in Philly put a curse on him that ruined the rest of his career. As an Eagle, he had 1 or 2 national endorsements. Those went away after the 2005 debacle.

TO could have made more money by staying on the straight and narrow in Philly. He was a worshiped man. The endorsement money would have rolled in. He was playing with a star QB in Donovan McNabb. Those two could have sold a lot of soup or peanut butter or whatever. And when TO eventually did leave, he could have still gotten a good deal. His reputation would have been much better.

As for on the field…the 2005 Eagles were 4-3 with him, 2-7 without him. That team could have gone to the playoffs if TO kept his head right and wasn’t so destructive. I don’t know if he would have stayed for another year or 2 or 3, but TO still had big time talent at that point. He would have been a big help to the offenses in those years.

It would have been really interesting to see what kind of a relationship TO and McNabb would have had. They got along so well in 2004. Would TO have said something awkward down the road even without the 2005 blow-up? Maybe. He was hard on some teammates.

TO would be a Philly legend if things had just played out the right way. He didn’t have to stay here 5 years. He had so much impact in 2004 that people were going to love him. But blowing up the 2005 Eagles took that away. Shame.

Andy Reid had hired another DC instead of Juan Castillo. Things did not go well in 2011 or 2012. Many people blame Juan Castillo for a lot of the problems. I think he gets too much blame, but there is no question that he was part of the problem.

The Wide-9 front can work. The Titans had a really good defense for years. You must have the right coaches, LBs and DBs. The Eagles had the right guys up front, but not behind it or on the sideline.

If Castillo had run a different front, his ideas and coaching moves still would have led to some problems. There were more than a few games where a veteran offensive coach got the best of him in the 4th quarter. Juan was just too new to defense at the NFL level to have answers for their answers. Football is a game of back and forth. You do something. Then I have an answer for that. Then you have an answer for my answer. And so on. Juan won when the personnel won.

The Eagles looked closely at Dennis Allen. Could he have made a difference? Maybe. The Eagles went 8-8 that year. The Giants won the division at 9-7. Blown leads and poor defensive adjustments cost the Eagles a few games. Just 1 or 2 more wins and that Eagles team would have gotten to the postseason. Who knows what might have happened then.

I won’t even go into 2012. Too many scenarios to discuss.

The bottom line is that Andy Reid might still have his job if he hired a different DC.

The debate then becomes whether that was a good thing. So for Andy’s critics, maybe Andy hiring Juan was the right move all along.

* * * * *

I left out a ton of good scenarios. Too many to cover at one time.

Feel free to share your ideas. If you guys like this column, could do another one and mix in other ideas.

_


  • Ben Hert

    I’ll lead off with an easy one…

    Kolb doesn’t get knocked out in the Green Bay game, and Vick never gets a chance to start.

    • SteveH

      Wow that is a really obvious one, its hard to even fathom how different the last few years would have been if that hadn’t happened.

      • Ben Hert

        Since its so ingrained in our recent memory, you could take this to multiple end points…Is AR still our coach? Is Kolb still our QB? An interesting one I was thinking…is Desean Jackson still on our team? You’d have to imagine Jackson would suffer with a QB like Kolb, more so than Vick. So with that assumed, do the eagles put up with his contract drama if he’s not as valuable of a piece?

    • bdbd20

      Or if Kolb got back his spot when healthy. We played Jax, Det, and Was. Kolb could have gotten some confidence and who knows?

    • Adam

      This. This right here.

      I honestly believe that Kolb getting hurt and Vick having that great season was one of the worst things, besides losing JJ (RIP), that happened to the Eagles in recent memory.

      Think about this: We put up with 1 or 2 years of Kolb tanking, do the Eagles become in contention for a guy like Newton? Luck? RG3?

      • atb124

        Or Kolb could have thrived in Andy’s system if given time to grow in it and not develop the confidence problems that lead to the deadly happy feet.

    • T_S_O_P

      Klobster has been knocked out of so many games since, it would of only been a matter of when not if.

      • Ben Hert

        I don’t know if that’s true. His knockouts at the hands of the Cardinals extremely offensive line wouldn’t have happened. And after the GB game, we played the Lions, Jags, and Skins after that. I feel that Kolb could have settled into the role of starting QB with a stretch of easy games like that and solidified his spot as a starter, regardless of how Vick performed if he got injured again.

        Again, its all based off of assumptions, and conjecture, but I guess what this is all about. Countering conjectures with conjectures.

        • T_S_O_P

          2010’s Eagle offensive line with Nick Cole, MJG and Justice. And how would he of faired last year as everyone fell off injured? Sorry, the guy has proven to be less durable the Vick. Mike may not be the answer, but there is no way Kevin was, otherwise he wouldn’t be where he is now.

          • Ben Hert

            I’m not saying Kolb doesn’t get injured at all that season, but I think if he survives that Green Bay game, you can safely assume Kolb plays well against those 3 bad teams in the weeks afterwards (which we know he can, looking at the Atlanta game), making him much more entrenched as the starter, and that means Vick doesn’t have those games to impress as he did at the beginning of the season….ergo, Vick never becomes the starter, and uses his momentum from his backup performances for Kolb as a stepping stone to a better contract with another team as the starter at the end of the year.

          • T_S_O_P

            I don’t agree with second sentence at all. He was inconsistent. As for the Atlanta game, one swallow doesn’t and didn’t make a summer.

          • Ben Hert

            I agree Kolb was never consistent, but you don’t think Kolb could have put up decent numbers against the 30th, 20th, and 27th ranked pass defenses in the NFL that year?

          • T_S_O_P

            I think he was never the answer, not here, not in Arizona and not in Buffalo. He never showed me anything to help verify that he’d have had good games against teams just because of their defensive rankings. If he got spooked, he looked shit. For that reason, and despite Slick most likely not being the answer, Kolb is less of a ‘What if?’ than he is of a ‘so what!’

    • Ben Hert

      Even better…Kolb plays okay in 2010, and Vick remains the backup so we never sign Vince Young, and the the “Dream Team” remains solely as the moniker for the ’92 Men’s Olympic Basketball Team.

  • SteveH

    How about what if Andy Reid had fired Washburn instead of Castillo after week 6? We would have switched away from the wide 9 (our pass rush got noticeably better late in the year after Washburn left) the whole undermining of authority Juanita thing would have not been an issue anymore, Todd Bowles wouldn’t have left the DB’s and our secondary probably wouldn’t have tanked, DRC would have kept up his pro bowl pace from the first 6 games and maybe we win 9 games and squeek into the playoffs.

    Ultimately I’m glad this didn’t happen because it was time to turn the page, but last year would have been a really different year I think if Reid had fired Wash instead of Juan.

  • Nate Jones

    My What-Ifs are mostly draft ones.

    What happens if we draft Reggie Wayne, Chad Johnson or Steve Smith instead of Freddie Mitchell? Suddenly, those 2002 and 2003 playoff games are a whole lot more competitive, and with no need to bring in TO, maybe 2005 goes a little bit better, too.

    Or what if we draft Witten instead of LJ Smith? You’ve got to think some of those stalled drives of the post -TO era get extended. (And maybe, not having to be the focal point of the offense means less tread on Westbrook’s tires. What ifs on top of what ifs.)

    • Matt Hoover

      Thank you! I was just going to type this, maybe tommy can touch on this in his next what if article

  • Mike Flick

    I remember when we drafted Mayberry instead of the MLB from Miami with questionable character.

    Our D-coordinator (drawing a blank right now) stomped out of the draft room. The Ravens picked up Ray Lewis with the next pick.

    Mayberry ended up being an OK guard, but not a HOF player. Our defense would be radically different.

    • bdbd20

      That’s an interesting debate. I remember when the Ravens passed on Lawrence Phillips to draft Ogden when they had two pretty good tackles. Sometimes you take a risk and sometimes you don’t.

    • TommyLawlor

      I’m not sure about the accuracy of the Ray Lewis story. The Eagles LB coach only had a 4th round grade on Lewis. I don’t know if the Eagles liked him. Ray had size concerns that dropped him to the bottom of the 1st round.

  • JoynerFan

    There’s one more domino to the “What if Trotter Never Left” hypothetical. . .if Trotter hadn’t left and gone to the Redskins, then he wouldn’t have been able to injure Brian Westbrook in Week 17.

    What if Brian Westbrook had been healthy for the 2003 NFCCG against the Panthers?

    • TommyLawlor

      The Westy one is something I intentionally left out so there would be at least one strong idea for another column.

    • tommy_the_k

      You beat me to the Westbrook reference. I was at that Carolina champ. game and our offense was so stagnant without the ultimate weapon.

  • Anebriated

    What if Jim Johnson was still alive…

    • TommyLawlor

      Yeah, considered that, but wasn’t sure if it was a good topic to write about. He was an older coach and the Eagles thought they had a good plan of succession lined up.

      • Anebriated

        Its definitely still a sore subject but its a major “what if” from the past decade of Philly sports. The best thing about JJ was that he had no desire to become anything more than a DC. He was our LeBeau. Like JJ many of LeBeau’s assistants went on to bigger and better things because he was not ready to leave his post as DC. Most get credited to Cowher and Tomlin but the reality is that it was LeBeau’s system those men were asked to bring to their new job. The biggest difference is that the Steelers have been able to replenish their coaching staff very well over the years where Andy Reid did a terrible job as the years went by.

  • Adam

    Instead of playing What If with the Eagles franchise, I think I’m going to sand blast my face. A lot less painful.

    • TommyLawlor

      Funny.

  • atb124

    What if Barry Sanders got to run behind as good a line as Emmitt Smith?

    What if Stewart Bradley hadn’t blown out his knee?
    The presence of a stud MLB allows McDermott’s defense to have enough success for him to hang around long enough to develop in to the stud DC originally projected of him –> Juan never becomes DC –> Mudd never becomes OL coach –> Kelce and Mathis don’t become stand-outs in a blocking scheme emphasizing agility –>?

    • Mitchell

      I wasn’t watching a ton of Eagles football when Bradley was here. actually how good was he?

      • TommyLawlor

        Stew was playing very well by the end of the year.

        Him staying healthy would be an excellent topic.

        • Ark87

          Disco Stew had sooo much potential too. SI named him All pro after his first year as a starter (his second season). Never played 100% again after that.

  • knighn

    I go back to 2004 all of the time. What if:
    – Jeremiah Trotter was the starter at MLB for the entire year?
    – Shawn Andrews didn’t break his leg in the first game of the year?
    – Terrell Owens didn’t get horse-collared by Roy Williams?
    I also wonder if Jamaal Jackson would have been ready to compete with Hank Fraley if he hadn’t been hurt in the pre-season that year. I felt like Fraley was a huge liability against the Pats.

    • Stephen Stempo

      I can answer the horse collar question. Nothing happens. Unless you mean “Does T.O. get mad about McNabb saying they can do it without him?” Because that whole year T.O. was nothing more than a luxury that helped us blow teams out instead of simply just winning.

      • Ark87

        which was all true but needn’t been said….in public. In the locker room something of the sort may have been called for from a leader, as a leader he had to show confidence that he and the remaining 51 players could still get to the superbowl (which they did)….just didn’t have to trivialize TO’s contributions in the process.

        If all parties reached the Superbowl physically and mentally sound…and possibly Bill Belichick not filming us….gotta wonder.

        • Stephen Stempo

          TO’s contributions that year were trivial. Just my opinion though. Obviously that’s hindsight, I was as excited as anyone to get him and the way the offense looked was epic. The thing is though, that offense probably looks pretty damn good without TO too.

  • GEagle

    This entire column was like a kick to my nuts lol. damn Tom, wtf did I do to you? Jk

  • Weapon Y

    The Eagles draft Warren Sapp instead of Mike Mamula. Andy Reid isnt chosen to be the head coach. Ricky Williams gets drafted in 1999 instead of McNabb. Terrell Owens doesn’t get hurt in the 2004 season and is healthy for the Super Bowl. Shawn Andrews doesn’t suffer a meltdown. Dawkins stays in Philly and never goes to Denver. The Eagles draft Earl Thomas and never have Kurt Coleman or Nate Allen as starting safeties. Nnamdi Asomugha never signs with the Eagles. Andy doesn’t hire Washburn while the defensive coordinator spot is vacant (does he get more interest from other DC candidates?). Chip Kelly isn’t chosen to be head coach. Chip doesn’t bring back Michael Vick. The possibilities are endless.

    • Mitchell

      Even if Sapp was a HoF player, I hate him so much for his commentary now I wouldn’t even want him lol

    • TommyLawlor

      Great one.

    • GvilleEagleFan

      Not drafting Earl Thomas is something Tommy’s covered before, noting that it is hard to separate his success from his position coaches and schemes. If you combine drafting him with JJ never getting cancer, however, and we get a chance to watch Dawkins move to a hybrid SS/LB role with Earl as the center fielder…. Goosebumps.

      Side note: the 2010 draft was the first year I really became a draftnik and was also the only year of college I lived in a dorm. When the Eagles traded up and Thomas was on the board I nearly crapped myself with excitement, and when we passed on him no less than three of my hall-mates came running into my room because I was cursing so loud they assumed a piece of heavy furniture had fallen on me. It was also the first draft I watched after my dad had passed. Funny how universal moments like that can have such unique and personal connections for crazy fans like us

      • GEagle

        Sign Jarius Byrd and Graham continues to improve and passing on Earl would have been the right move!!! How’s that for a what if? Lol

  • GEagle

    What if Levan Kirkland was on the chip Kelly smoothies?
    What if Takeo Spikes wasn’t ancient when he arrived here?
    What if we never signed such a bow tie wearing Baffoon who spent more time playing guitar in the subway and less time in the weight room, in Dahani Jones?
    ….Then I wouldn’t be foaming at the mouth to watch Graham,Kendicks, Meco and Barwin in 2013!!!

    • TommyLawlor

      Actually, Dhani had excellent upper body strength. He did something like 30 reps at the Combine.

      • Matt Hoover

        And spike was far from washed up! What if we had resigned takeo spikes or will Witherspoon!

      • GEagle

        I don’t think I have ever despised a player during our Golden years more than Jones…I just needed something to hate on him about lol

  • Stephen Stempo

    What if TO simply never signs here? How does the 2004 season go? 2005? We probably still get to the superbowl. Maybe Andy falls less in love with the big play, he stays closer to the running game, and screen passes, and slants which had given him so much success the previous years.

    What if Chad Lewis hadn’t broken his ankle in the NFCCG. I know Lewis hadn’t torn up the league for a while but he was still a safe check down that Donovan seemed to trust and he had had a good game Vs. Atlanta. I was never a hug fan of LJ.

    fun one. What if the patriots get caught with spygate in 2003 instead of after 2004?

    What if Donovan McNabb doesn’t get knocked out of the game vs. the Panthers? Even so what if the Refs actually called roughing the passer on that play? (Or you know ever vs McNabb.)

    What if Buckhalter plays the second half of the NFCCG vs the rams? He was 6 for 50 in the first half.

    • GEagle

      What if Hough Dougles hit Kurt Warner a bit harder when he cracked him in his back during the first half of the NFC title game?

      • Stephen Stempo

        Yeah Lot’s of stuff from that game. I think 2001 and 2003 if we make the SB we win. A lot of emphasis is put on 2004 and yeah that was an exciting year but I think 01 and 03 are overlooked. The defenses on those two teams were much better than 04 and Andy was still more balanced in what he did. I still think having Buck in the second half of that game shortens the game in the second half and keeps the Rams off the field more and we basically run it right over them.

        • GEagle

          Completely agree… On paper we probably had a better chance in 01 and 03 then the TO year, totally agree…it just gets forgotten because they actually made it to the SB, the TO year

      • tommy_the_k

        What if Buckhalter doesn’t twist his ankle after getting 50+ yards in the first half?

        • GEagle

          then he probably gets 3 more carries in the second half ;)…lol you know andy! Jk

  • GEagle

    What if Andy decides to run the damn ball?
    What if the Patriots weren’t filming TO running routes at practice
    What if McNabb grew a pair during a crucial moment instead of pulling a friggin “Willie Beamen” in Jaxonville?
    ….then I would probably still be skipping through life from memories of an epic Super Bowl parade( Damn it, I was literally living on broad street in south Philly that year).

    • Stephen Stempo

      Well I think the andy running and the getting TO are linked.

      Here’s a fun question. Would you rather have had a more balanced offense from andy or that one year of TO? Because it seemed like Post TO andy definitely fell in love with the big play. Derrick at eaglesrewind has a good post on that

      • GEagle

        Tough one…certainly agree that when he fell in love with those deep passes, it was the beginning of the end, and TO could of had a lot to do with it…
        ..
        Watching TO as an Eagle for a year is probably the single greatest year in my Eagles fandom. me and my friends were literally insane college kids that year and it was a glorious time lol

        • Stephen Stempo

          No I agree I was 23 it was epic watching the Eagles deconstruct teams that year. I just wonder if that was a “be careful what you wish for moment.”

          • GEagle

            It certainly might have been…kind of similar to Vicks stellar 2010 season

      • T_S_O_P

        The big play and the arrival Marty Mornenwhig: related – yes or no?

  • Mitchell

    I’m rather new to the Eagles franchise. Been watching since around ’03 but only really got into them maybe two years ago. I enjoy these articles because it gives me some good history.

  • T_S_O_P

    What if Marty got offered an OC/College HC job straight after the debacle in Detroit? Other than electing to kick in overtime elsewhere and royally peeing off the fans of said college team, how would that of effected the Eagles?

    What if Duce had stayed for 2 more years? Worth it if the above scenario had taken place.

  • shah8

    I had to laugh at the Kolb comments…

    But here’s my what if…Shawn Andrews was a mentally and physically fit player for a longer time.

    • Mac

      In that scenario, Brian Westbrook might be HOF material.

    • T_S_O_P

      This (Andrews and Peters as bookend tackles) has been discussed prior to this thread. To paraphrase – drool, drool, drool.

  • http://www.aceandson.com/blog Richard O’Connor

    What if SuperBowl XXXIX doesn’t fall on the wrong day of Pinkston’s cycle, causing him to leave the field at the half with 82 yards running free in the secondary and cramps no Midol could knock out?

    • sonofdman

      Nice one! Everyone seems to forget how great Pinkston was playing in the first half.

  • Ark87

    Hey Tommy, this is a bit off topic, but I’ve been thinking about this lately and it’s been bugging me. For me the story of the defense for the past few years hasn’t been pure bad. It seemed like we would do some really nice things on 1st and 2nd down, or things went our way with penalties and what not. Leaving us with what seems like a ton of 3rd and long, seemingly converted wit ease over the past few years. The D just can’t get off the field. Even the great JJ’s defenses were not particularly good at this but at least those defenses excelled in the redzone.

    Why were we consistently so bad on 3rd down (maddeningly 3rd and long in particular)? Is it play-calling, personnel, team personality/ attitude or what? Can it be(/how can it) be improved?

  • MediaMike

    What if Norman Braman wasn’t a cheap F__K who should die screaming of some horrible disease?
    Reggie White, Seth Joyner, Eric Allen, Clyde Simmons, William Thomas, Keith Jackson, and Keith Byars all play for more and more seasons as Eagles.

    • tag1555

      Without Braman, Philadelphia loses the Eagles. Tose had a deal worked out with Phoenix, it was how he was going to pay off his gambling debts. Not excusing what happened at the end of his tenure, when Braman was looking for a way out after FA started boosting salaries, but he’s the reason we’re not talking about the Phoenix Eagles instead.

  • 33% God

    How ‘bout ‘What if the Eagles beat the Pat’s in the Super Bowl”. I’m joking of course, but all this ‘what if’ing’ has a tinge of fatuousness to it because these questions are endless and lead to no where but dead ends. It’s like asking ‘What if Hitler had Stealth Bombers?” or “What if the Manhattan Project didn’t work?” There is also a bit of sadomasochism that is truly befitting to us tortured Eagles fans. Why don’t we just ask ourselves what we’d be willing to sacrifice for an Eagles championship? Personally, I would give my left nut to see that. I really would. No anesthesia too.

    With that being said though, there is an element of fun to this game. I don’t think anyone has mentioned this one yet. What if Weaver didn’t blow out his knee in the 2010 opener? Do the Eagles have enough offensive firepower to beat the Packers in the wild card round?

  • Tumtum

    What if…. McNabb channled his benching against Baltimore positively instead of negatively.

    Very lame, but I wanted to contribute. I’m on vaca. This is the best PBRs on the beach all day left me with.

    • sonofdman

      Then maybe, he would light up the Cardinals on Thanksgiving a few days later, lead the eagles to a surprise playoff birth, and help them get to the NFC championship game.

      It’s all just hypothetical, but maybe it would play out that way. I guess we have no way of knowing.

  • PhillipSeymourHoffman’sMoobs

    What if Michael Vick was white?

  • Flyin

    65 Repies…

    I blame McNabb.

  • Aleandro green

    What if they had finished 4-12 like they should have 2 years ago, maybe they could have been apart of the rgIII sweepstakes

  • eagleyankfan

    You covered my “what if”. You MUST be being kind to JC. I don’t care what numbers say. He was BRUTAL. I think(my memory isn’t what it use to be) the Eagles had a DC they could have used but they passed and he went on to coach the Texas and had an amazing defense.
    And my second “what if” would have been RC breaking his leg. So since you covered two of them, here’s my own…
    What if DJ wasn’t a DIVA? Ton of talent wasted. People have picked on Pinkston(previous knows as Stinkson) but DJ’s cycle is monthy. The term “man up and play” is not in DJ vocabulary. He’s use to phrases like “why go over the middle” and “I’m not playing til I get my money”. I hope Chip gets the WR’s he really wants and moves DJ to his only good quality — P and K returns.

  • tag1555

    * In 1985, if Marion Campbell’s Eagles don’t blow a 23 point lead in the 4th to Minnesota. They were 6-6 going into the game, and with that win they’d have been 7-6 and right in the playoff hunt. Collapsing so spectacularly threw the team into a tailspin and they finished 7-9. If they made the playoffs, possibly Braman keeps Campbell another year (and doesn’t hire Buddy), which gives the team more time to work Reggie in fully and for Randall to learn under Gillman and Marchibroda.
    http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/phi/1985.htm
    Long-term, I doubt it saves Campbell, since he wasn’t a Braman hire and NB wanted to put his stamp on the team. However, we saw how making the playoffs bought Buddy a couple more years than he would have gotten without that, so perhaps Campbell could have managed a similar dance with the sword of Damocles for a while, and extended the Vermeil-era coaches and players for longer rather than the total purge that happened after Buddy was hired.

    * From around the same time period, if the Eagles hired David Shula instead of Buddy. From Bowden’s “Bringing the Heat” book, this came a lot closer to happening than a lot of fans think: Shula was Braman’s #1 choice to replace Campbell, until he started balking and wanting more control, and Buddy’s defense destroyed the Pats in the Super Bowl.

  • McNabbulousness

    Was reluctant to read this post and I know I’m a little late to the “ruin my good mood” party as we look back at these moments, but with most of the “what ifs” i was thinking of already taken off the draft board, here’s mine:

    What if the Eagles had played a full game instead of one half v. the cards in the NFCCG?

    The high water mark of that “what if” is the wide open pass McNabb missed (I think it was to DJax) that really looked like it would have gone for a 70+ yard TD. I’m one of the more staunch McNabb defenders, but I got just as angry/frustrated as anyone at the incomplete/grounded/misfired/dumb decision/etc passes he made over his career (just for affect another all-timer was the pix 6 he threw on snf or mnf that 1) gave the cowboys the winning score and 2) ended McNabb’s season because he got destroyed on the play, in turn exploding (i think that’s what the medical professionals said happened) his sports hernia)) . And I’ll tell you, that NFCCG incomplete pass was probably the worst.

    That being said the whole team didn’t show up for the 1st two quarters, offense or defense.

    So lets move on to the ramifications of this “what if.”

    1) we show up the first half and have a VERY good chance of winning that game against a very beatable cards team.

    2)thus making the Super Bowl where we would face our cross state rivals, again a winnable game that I would chalk up to a coin flip style game

    3)that would in turn, if we won that elusive ring, would…

    4)first and foremost be a fitting end to coaching career and life of the late great Jim Johnson, and…

    5)give the McNabb/Reid collaboration/era the title that would propel both into the HOF. McNabb’s career arc would embody more of a Elway-esque feel instead of say maybe an Esiason-type arc. Reid would be hailed as another innovative Walsh-prophet that ushered in the high volume passing league era and proved you can win a SB with that sort of run/pass ratio. Now he is more looked at like the Mike D’Antonio of the NFL, never winning that title that validated his philosophy.

    All of this ultimately leads me to lay in bed at night and think of other what ifs, or what ifs within what ifs, like:

    What if Kevin Curtis was 3′ taller? Maybe he gets his fingers on that last 4th down pass from McNabb on that last drive to try and tie the game.

    damn it all.

    my head hurts…and my tummy is growling. Tommy, why pour salt on these old, but still very fresh woulds!

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