PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There could not have been a better bunch of Eagles to end the wait for the Lombardi Trophy.
These Eagles were kicked to the curb before, during and after the regular season. They were considered a ten-win team at best and a work in progress by many in training camp. Their head coach, considered by some to be a consultation prize two years ago, supposedly still had a lot to prove. Their star quarterback went down along with their top linebacker and left tackle. They picked a kicker off a practice squad.
And they are world champions. Jason Kelce said they simply followed the same script all season.
“It’s been happening every single game,” said Kelce. “It’s just more of the normal for us. It’s what we’ve been doing all season long. The guys just kept coming play after play and game after game. That’s what every guy on this team did.”
Perspective is a beautiful thing, especially after a world championship. It is now hard to believe the Eagles were underdogs in their first two playoff games. It was a different story every time. When the offense struggled, the defense dominated. When the defense had a rare off-game, the offense picked up the pace. In Super Bowl LII, Tom Brady threw for 505 yards……and lost. The Patriots lost to a team with a “backup” quarterback who put together an MVP performance. Nick Foles accepted his MVP award from Sunday’s game with the same class and humility that has symbolized himself and his teammates all season.
“Everyone wants to point out one individual,” Foles said. “I’m fortunate to be the MVP of this game but as you’ve seen this year, we’ve had so many MVPs with different guys stepping up. I’m fortunate to be part of a great team. The last few weeks has been a team thing.”
Foles could not be more accurate. The 2017 Eagles checked their egos at the door and bonded together the way in which champions are made. Dare tell the Eagles weren’t good enough or were underdogs. It was more fuel to the fire.
This unselfishness and strong chemistry was created by a head coach who had his share of critics after one season. However, Doug Pederson pushed all the right buttons. He never acts like he is the smartest guy in the room, but he sure does qualify. That same chemistry with the coaches was another reason why the Eagles have their first Lombardi Trophy.
“I think this team is full of great character men,” said Pederson. “It wasn’t about one individual as I kept saying to the team this entire season and, particularly, in these last couple of months. The players own their jobs and own there responsibilities. Not having selfish coaches and selfish players gives them a chance to win this game.”
They will be immortalized now. Look at the way the Broad Street Bullies, the 1980 and 2008 Phillies and the 1967 and 1983 76ers are remembered. This group might top them all in one of the most passionate football cities in the country. This team is also well aware of what this championship means to Philadelphia. LeGarrette Blount figured it out when he arrived this season.
“This is the first one,” Blount said. “We felt it in our heart that we were going to get this win. We didn’t know how and we didn’t know by what margin, but we felt it in our heart.”
It’s a whole new world now. Giants and Cowboys fans will no longer be able to hold up a finger to Eagles fans…a ring finger symbolizing something missing. It is also time to dream big. This team appears to be set to contend for quite some time.
But the first will will always be the sweetest for Jeffrey Lurie and his team.
“You just can’t fantasize in these superlatives,” said Lurie. “I’m just so happy for our fans.”