Can Nice Guys Finish First?

Posted: July 6th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 23 Comments »

I was looking over the Eagles roster the other day when a weird thought popped in my head…is this the most likable Eagles team? There really are a lot of players that seem like genuinely great guys. I covered the topic in my PE.com column.

I realize that Riley Cooper seems like anything but a great guy based on last summer. I didn’t say every player was likable.

And don’t mistake this to be all about whether guys are criminals or outright bad guys. Dhani Jones was actually a pretty good guy, but he was almost impossible to cheer for. He wore bow ties and tried to talk as if he was a Harvard professor. It felt very contrived and that didn’t sit well with Eagles fans. Freddie Mitchell could be incredibly annoying just about any time he spoke.

Kelly has put together a roster of likable guys.

While that is a good thing, it only works if the players can win. I don’t want a team of choirboys if they lose games and can’t compete for a title. I want the best football team possible. It is great when a team is made up of good guys and wins, but winning is the bottom line.

The Eagles won a weak NFC East last year. Challenging for a title is a whole other level. We’ll see how things go.

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  • mtn_green

    They love football. I like that.

  • John Paine

    I liked the players from the early 2000′s just fine, and they won plenty. As long as the other teams don’t like playing against them, I think we’re just fine… Hopefully, some of the rookies have a bit of a nasty streak to them come game time.

    • Jernst

      Yea it’s hard to beat Dawkins, Hugh Douglas, Hollis Thomas, Jeremiah Trotter, Troy Vincent, Bobby Taylor, Carlos Emmons, Duce Staley, Jon Runyan, Kevin Turner, tea Thomas, Westbrook, McNabb, Sheldon Brown. Not all those guys played together in one season, but boy they were likeable teams!

  • sprawl

    Something I noticed while listening to the PhiladelphiaEagles.com audio-only podcast recaps without any of the visual prompting as to who is speaking—whenever you hear Riley Cooper you can almost mistake him for a member of the coaching staff.

    This is all outside the Kenny Chesney concert environment of course, but had anyone else gotten a similar impression?

  • Iskar36

    Given equal talent/ability/performance, I’d always take the more likeable guy without question, but to me, “likeability” is one of the more overrated values for players. To me, as long as whatever makes them less “likeable” does not affect team chemistry or prevent that player from playing (i.e. getting suspended), I don’t mind having those kinds of players on the team. Too often I think players get overrated/underrated due to their likeability.

    I was hoping you were going to address the question you posed in the title of this post, but ACViking maybe could provide an interesting historical perspective on likeability vs. success. There probably is some chicken vs. the egg questions with teams that became dynasties like the Patriots (it’s certainly not the only reason, but if we are being honest, part of the reason the Patriots or so disliked is because they have been so successful), but it seems to me likeability has little added value to a teams success.

    • RobNE

      interesting example b/c the Pats were (or were portrayed as) such a non-diva team, from being introduced all at once in their SB against the Rams and players like Bruschi who seemed like try hard guys. It was kind of cute the first SB. But after 5 super bowls constantly hearing (from their fans, I live here) about how the Pats have no talent at all (except Brady), they just play team first football (unlike the other 31 teams), well like you said, success breeds contempt.

      I think it has little value if you looked at examples, but I think you can make the case that you are increasing your odds of success, and continued success, if you have guys that are likeable – if you define likeable as team first, willing to teach their teammates, etc. But the SB’s are such a small sample size, this would be hard to prove.

      But if you are building a program, doing what Kelly is doing seems smart to me. It’s about the process not the results.

  • SteveH

    Jason Babin, Nnamdi Asomugha, Terrell Owens… so many tools…

    • CrackSammich

      Asomugha was probably one of the nicest guys we’ve had playing. He wasn’t well liked, but he did more charitable work than anyone. You can’t blame the guy for the shitty hand he was dealt.

      • Anders

        Desean and TO also did plenty charitable work, but still wasnt likable.

        • CrackSammich

          Asomugha is disliked because:
          1. He was paid a lot– If the team is offering it, he’d be dumb to not take it. That’s not his fault he was overpaid. He didn’t hold out for it. He didn’t skip meetings. He didn’t skip practices. He signed on the line for the agreed upon price and did his job.
          2. His ability quickly declined– Well, first off, I’m sure Nnamdi disliked this a lot more than the fan base ever could have. Combined with point 1, it’s not his fault he was making more than his playing warranted. The coaching situation, horrible defensive scheme, and lack of any kind of help from either the linebackers or safeties beside/behind him certainly didn’t help.
          3. He ate in his car– A top flight football player, not known for any kind of trouble in any of his years, who was at least social enough to never have had locker room issues mentioned in all of those years, eats alone in his car, and we blame him? I get that that this is a machismo locker room culture, but if this were a high school cafeteria, we’d look to see the reason why Nnamdi was choosing to escape from the situation instead of just calling him an asshole.

          I understand why the guy was not liked, but it’s almost like people’s hatred of Casey Matthews and Danny Watkins. They didn’t choose to be drafted. They didn’t choose to be played in positions above their ability and before they were ready. Nnamdi did what he could and we hate him for it because he responded poorly to the poor situation around him. Sports are fun…

  • Eagles_Fan_in_San_Fran

    If they’re just half as nice as this guy, we’ll be just fine:
    http://phillyphoughts.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/jon-runyan.jpg

  • Cafone

    And it’s been quite a while since LeSean McCoy has thrown any woman off buses.

    • Bert’s Bells

      First thing I thought of. McCoy is possibly the best player on the team, and one of the best in the league -even with his hilarious quirks (“McCoy!”) between the twitter wars, the trashing his child’s mother, and the party bus “likeable” isn’t a word I’d use.

      • John Paine

        Funny, I enjoy the twitter “wars”. In this age of Free Agency the players are all friends, and it sucks. I prefer my players to hate the other team as much as I do. So I enjoy McCoy getting on our rivals nerves, makes it more of an actual rivalry.

        As for the baby mama drama and the party bus incident… Meh, in this age of political correctness, I appreciate a man who treats everyone equally. By that I mean, that if a man was being a problem on his bus and he kicked him off, it would be cool. So it should be cool to kick a chick off too… I don’t really remember the details of the baby mama incident, but I’m sure that if a man did whatever she did to annoy him that blasting that dude on Twitter wouldn’t have been an issue.

        So, yeah, none of that makes him less likable to me. In fact, it makes me like him more.

        • Bert’s Bells

          I’d also be cool with McCoy taking a bunch of dudes to party on the Turnpike then throwing one out when he wouldn’t give him head. So I guess you have a point.

          • Bert’s Bells

            I’d also add that if Freddie Mitchell got into it on Twitter and through talk radio the way McCoy does, very few people would find it funny (other than to laugh AT the People’s Champ). It’s only McCoy’s exceptional ability as a player which excuses his loud mouth.

          • John Paine

            I actually enjoyed FredEx too. Although, yes, it was more laughing at him than with him… But, yeah, as long as you can back it, talk all the “ish” you want. And McCoy backs it.

          • Bert’s Bells

            First Down Freddie was pretty funny. Sad, but funny. He wasn’t so much trash talking other teams as he was overselling his own skills.

          • John Paine

            Lol… No, really… That made me laugh out loud.

  • eagleyankfan

    Choir boys don’t get suspended. Sometimes there are things under the covers we don’t see…

  • GEAGLE

    I’m enjoying a quiet peaceful summer. Even if it’s driving our tmz media crazy
    #teamchoirboys

  • Jernst

    No team can be considered the most likeable team of all time when you’re comparing it to teams that had Brian Dawkins. BDawk instantly makes any team he’s on more likeable than any non Brian Dawkins containing team. A team full of TOs with one Brian Dawkins is still the more likeable than most other teams

  • jamesbondage

    No