Philadelphia Eagles Fans May Be Losing Their Religion


It’s fitting that the Pope arrives in Philadelphia this week. He’ll be entering a city full of football zealots who are quickly losing their religion due to the Philadelphia Eagles 0-2 start.

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He’s also an expert in how much can happen in just seven days.

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Last week, I noted that the opening loss to the Falcons wasn’t all that surprising, especially after a resurgent second half. But after a debacle of a home christening against the Cowboys, the depth and breadth of shocking disappointment has officially reached an alarming level.

Maybe the Pope can teach us the benefit of hindsight, by looking back at the scriptures written over the preceding eight months.

For example, could it be that Chip Kelly, once branded as the second coming, is in fact simply a false prophet?

In a break from the at-times excruciating status quo gospel that the previous regime was known for preaching, a decision of biblical proportions was made to go all-in at the table. And – with apologies for mixing metaphors – although the dealer hasn’t flipped the river card yet, it looks like Kelly may be losing his chips.

In fact, when looking back at the cumulative effect of the offseason changes he made thus far, some may say this he is losing his credibility, as well.

After eight quarters of regular season football – including six that resembled more Pop Warner than playoff contender – the massive overhaul looks like it was for the birds, as opposed to for the Birds.

Looking back in hindsight, would the Eagles have been better off staying the course? Let’s consider:

  • Could it be that Sam Bradford played a significant role in his mediocrity during his time in St. Louis? That perhaps it wasn’t just a lack of weapons and poor offensive system?
  • Could it be that Byron Maxwell was not a starting cornerback in Seattle because he wasn’t good enough, not just because of who was in front of him?
  • Could it be that having a reliable interior offensive line is kind of important after all?
  • Could it be that a proven veteran receiver who’s excelled in the system can go a long way?

In other words, would a healthy Nick Foles be at the very worst a wash over a Bradford who, thus far, looks indecisive on the field, egregiously locks in on his targets, seems resistant to roll out when the pocket inevitably breaks down and whose deer-in-headlights expressions invoke very little confidence?

Or wouldn’t the outrageous contract invested in a career backup be better spent on keeping proven veterans such as Jeremy Maclin, Todd Herremans and yes, even malcontent Evan Mathis?

Speaking of disgruntled players, wouldn’t a running back in the ilk of a LeSean McCoy fare better than a north-south style, especially when there are no openings straight ahead to run through?

The fault does not lie with Kelly on attempting to figure out a way to raise the bar, even with a roster that was already competitive. After 55 years of missing the Promised Land, any devout fan can respect some tinkering with a heavenly destiny in mind.

Instead, the mistake is in the approach, that if the team faced a come-to-Jesus moment as they do now, there would be clear backup strategy on the road to salvation.

At the end of the day, it’s not that the Eagles fell short in their first two games; it’s how they lost, mainly by looking lost.

(Surely, Francis can speak on behalf of others who were once lost but now found.)

Heading into a must-win showdown in just the third week of the season, the Eagles are down to a wing and a prayer. In hindsight, maybe it shouldn’t have come down to a visit from God’s messenger to help them become born again.

The final chapter in the Book of Kelly is far from being written. But after seven days, the universe that’s been created has many disciples in a state of unrest.

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