By Andrew Porter
A win next week in Dallas means the Eagles will finish the season 10-6 and NFC East champions in Chip Kelly’s first season as head coach, something most of us weren’t even dreaming of just a few short months ago. After guaranteeing a winning a record with Sunday night’s jaw-dropping 54-11 win over the NFC North title seeking Bears, most of Philadelphia flat out expects the Eagles to go to Dallas and beat the Cowboys to win the division and earn a playoff birth.
In fact, Vegas actually has the Eagles as small favorites on the road.
Dallas is 1-2 in their last three games, including an epic Tony Romo collapse two weeks against the Packers and a squeak-it-out one point win over the Redskins yesterday. While Philadelphia fans seem over -confident already about this week 17 Eagles at Cowboys contest, which has been flexed to Sunday Night Football, going to Dallas and beating the Cowboys with the division title and a playoff birth on the line isn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination. If you don’t know anything about the NFL, one thing you should know is the cliche line, “Any Given Sunday.” What happens from one week to the next in the NFL is unpredictable, and the fact that next week could be the Eagles final game of the season, whether we like it or not, is a potential reality.
Either way, win or lose next week, this season has been fun. We’ve experienced 17 exhilarating weeks of unpredictable, competitive, meaningful, and most importantly, fun football in Philadelphia this year. We’ve seen the emergence of a young, dare I say, franchise quarterback in Nick Foles, an athletic, big receiver in Riley Cooper, and the blossoming of a superstar and arguably’s the league’s most explosive offensive player in LeSean McCoy.
However, the biggest takeaway from this season is Chip Kelly and this coaching staff has earned our trust. The critics were out and about before the season and especially early on when the Eagles were 1-3, but to say you’re not impressed with Kelly and these coaches is just flat out stubborn at this point. Kelly’s unorthodox, unconventional, unforeseeable coaching strategy is fun to watch if nothing else. He hasn’t been perfect, but his personal style, cadence, and charm combined with the product he is putting on the field is simply fun to root for. From smoothies to sports science to unique formations to cursing during press conferences, we have seen it all, and it has been one heck of a ride.
Do I think the Eagles will beat the Cowboys next week? Yeah, of course I do, I’m a typical biased Eagles fan. However, I’ll be able to cope with a loss because of what this season has brought me as an Eagles fan, and that’s hope. This season has given us hope going forward and this franchise has earned the trust of its fan base.
While the harsh reality remains that Sunday could be the final game of this incredible Eagles season, as I sit here writing this on the morning of December 23rd, 2013 the optimistic reality of a parade down Broad Street still exists, and being able to experience both ends of the spectrum as a sports fan is all the fun, isn’t it?
This week in Philadelphia when you go to your local Wawa, or you see the mailman, or go to get your haircut, you will be able to say Merry Christmas and Go Birds, two things that haven’t been synonymous in almost three years in this town and for that we owe the biggest ‘Thank You’, to Chip Kelly.
Andrew Porter is the Audio Roadshow Coordinator for SportsRadio WIP, editor and writer forThe School Philly, and a contributing sports blogger for CBS Philly. You can follow him on Twitter @And_Porter.