How many more teams like the Saints will win the Super Bowl before the Eagles do?
Don't get me wrong, it was awesome seeing the New Orleans Saints hoist that Super Bowl Trophy last night. Drew Brees is a class act, I once sold a Cadillac to local Philadelphian Jahri Evans, and for what that city has endured over the last five years, this is well deserved for the good people of Louisiana who use their hometown team as a source of escapism. They treated me very well there during my visit for the 2002 Super Bowl. During my stay I also attended Mardi Gras, and I can only imagine what Bourbon Street was like after that clock showed 0:00 down in Miami.
In saying all of this, I couldn't help but feel yet again as a Philadelphia Eagles fan the sinking feeling of watching that elusive parade go by that we are never invited to. It's kind of the same feeling I felt in 2003, when the then-eleven year-old Florida Marlins took home their second title in seven years. At that time of course, the Phillies hadn't won that all elusive second World Series title. But back to football.
During the last ten years, Philly sports fans have watched the following teams either take home Lombardi's Trophy, or get pretty close to winning it. Who is going to be next? The Lions? To be honest, it's getting down right annoying. Here is the list.
Baltimore Ravens- a relative "expansion team" who won in just their fifth year in existence.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers- an expansion team who lost their first 26 games in their history. Moreover, the team has only been in existence since 1976 (we won't even talk about how they got to that Super Bowl).
Carolina Panthers- who were 1-15 while the Eagles were battling the Rams in the NFC Title game in 2002.
Seattle Seahawks- With NFC West titles in 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007, Seattle may be the closest NFC team with success similar to the Eagles during this stretch. In saying that, they've only been to one NFC Championship Game during this time. However, one trip was all they needed to advance to the Super Bowl.
Arizona Cardinals- Ah yes, the former "laughingstock of football" made their first Super Bowl appearance with help from the Eagles.
New Orleans Saints- Prior to 2009, the Saints had only won 2 postseason games in their history (one of them vs. the Eagles in January 2007). And if you thought the Eagles of the mid 1960's-mid 1970's were horrific, the Saints went (GULP!) two decades before they even had their first winning season!!
Oddly enough, "The Eagles" (the band) have a song called "The Sad Cafe" from their "Long Run" album. In the bridge, the ever poetic Don Henley sings "I don't know why fortune smiles on some, and lets the rest go free." Yes, the Birds had MUCH to do with some of these teams advancing to football's biggest stage. That however, is irrelevant. Fact of the matter is, a decade of "excellence" for the Eagles seems relatively minuscule when they have as many Super Bowl appearances over that span as the six previously mentioned teams. To make matters worse, NONE of these teams (with the possible exception of the Seahawks) come even close to matching the Eagles regular season success of the last decade. Yet three of those six teams have trophies. It doesn't matter how they did it, or what path it took to get them there. Whatever path the Eagles have been on, they are surely taking the scenic route, and fortune indeed seems to be smiling on many different teams over the last five Februaries. The Eagles aren't one of them.
It was refreshing to see Donovan McNabb showing some emotion yesterday when asked to comment on his displeasure in failing to bring the Eagles a championship. He knows the fans are restless, and though he might not have always felt this way, I get the impression that he is restless as well. Bottom line is, the Eagles organization can say whatever they want, but actions speak louder than words. The New Orleans Saints proved that last night.
And until the Eagles DO win that Super Bowl like the Saints did, we are further reminded of the team's "Gold Standard," which is looking more like "Fool's Gold" as each year passes by without the Lombardi Trophy.
Contact Joe Vallee at firstname.lastname@example.org