There are no moral victories for the Eagles in the playoffs
I don’t want to overstate the importance of things, but the Eagles’ Wild Card game this Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is one of the most important games in team history. I know what you are thinking. I know it sounds way too dramatic. After all, wasn’t this team 2-5 at one point? Isn’t this Nick Sirianni’s first year as head coach? Jalen Hurts is so young! He needs time to develop, right?
Wrong. Dead Wrong.
There are no moral victories
This game matters. It’s not an exhibition. There are All Pros on this team. There’s at least one future hall of famer on this team. To write off an invitation to the playoffs as good enough is selling this team short. It’s also foolhardy. The NFL rarely operates on a linear path. There aren’t neat developmental arcs when it comes to Championship windows like some fairy tale. This is an opportunity the Eagles need to seize.
As an Eagles fan you should already know this.
Especially any Eagles fans that are old enough to remember the McNabb era, but even if you just remember what just transpired in the aftermath of Super Bowl 52. Remember the “new normal” that Doug Pederson promised? Remember how Carson Wentz was the future of the franchise for at least another decade once he got healthy?
Football is an unforgiving sport. There are gruesome injuries. Contract disputes pop up. You can’t promise yourself a ten year era of glory. You can’t even promise yourself a season of glory. Just ask the Browns, Carson Wentz’s new team, or the Ravens. They were all supposed to be contenders this year.
How’d that work out for them?
Back to that McNabb era…
I remember watching that team progress over a three year period. The first year with McNabb as starter they made the playoffs as a Wild Card. The next year, they won their division and made it to the NFC championship game on the road. The following year was set to be the culmination. They won home field advantage. They were definitely going to the Super Bowl.
Then the Buccaneers came to town.
*GRAPHIC CONTENT WARNING: WATCH THE BELOW VIDEO AT YOUR OWN RISK*
Everything changed when Joe Jurevicius broke loose and burned Blaine Bishop like a broken toaster. Suddenly the narrative was flipped. The Eagles weren’t the ascendant team knocking on the door. They were the team that just couldn’t win The Big Game.
The lesson to take away from this is clear
You have to win now. You can’t assume that there is some future date where everything will be perfect. The nature of this sport means that never happens. Just look at the supposed juggernaut the Eagles are facing off against this Sunday. The Buccaneers couldn’t beat the Saints during the regular season last year and had to win as a wild card team.
If at any point you catch yourself thinking this game is just icing on the cake, just think to yourself: “Can I guarantee this team will be in the playoffs again next year?” You can’t. Nobody can. The Eagles moment to win is now. They can’t afford to squander it.
He’s a winner. Bet $25 on Parx Sportsbook and win $100 if the Eagles score a SINGLE touchdown tomorrow against the Bucs.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline- USA Today Sports