How long does being a Super Bowl champion give you credit? A decade? 5 years? 1 year? Try less than 30 minutes of game time. That is how long it took the Eagles fans to turn on their team in Thursday NFL season opener. The disdan for the way the Eagles started this game was not totally unwarranted. The Eagles had just 68 yards of offense in the first had and trailed the Atlanta Falcons for most of that time.
The worst of the booing broke out when the Eagles kneeled at their own 37 yard line with five seconds left on the clock. What exactly did fans think the team should do. Try one of the longest Hail Marys in history? Risk getting their backup quarterback, the SuperBowl MVP injured for a long shot chance of scoring? It just was not going to happen. The coaches are not stupid. Oh and by the way, they only had the ball because of a an incorrect roughing the kicker call that handed them the ball back and a 15-yard penalty. The Falcons rookie linebacker was unfairly penalised after being blocked into the kicker, while trying to make a play. Rather than count their luck the Eagles fans turned on their own team.
The Eagles ended up winning the game thanks more to the Falcons lack of ability to execute at key moments than their ability to execute. That is not to say the Eagles defense did not have its moments. They harried Matt Ryan for four sacks and had three really good goal line stands which resulted in one turnover on downs, a field goal and time expiring at the end of the game.
The Ringer’s Bill Simmons talks a lot about the five year grace period of a franchise winning a championship. Hand up if you thought the Eagles were going to get that? Oh just a couple of hands I see. Now put your hands up if you are an Eagle fan. I think I see mostly the same hands. It was never going to happen because that fan base can never be happy. It must be a horrible way to live your life, nearly always disappointed in your team.
Before anyone points out I am a Patriots fan and Patriots fans boo their own team all the time. Yes they do but go back to when the Patriots won their first couple of Super Bowls. There was not much booing then and that was a fan base who had watched more abject teams that perhaps anyone who is not a Jets fan. Now the Patriots fans boo because they know the window is closing, that is not the case for the Eagles, who have at least a few more years and maybe another 10 if Carson Wentz is anywhere near as good as he was last season.
Eagles fans, when you win everyone hates you and your team. You know what though, you tend not to care if you are enjoying watching your team play, even when they struggle. Football is a game of patience, a game of chess on a football field if you like. Teams need time to work each other out, especially early in the season, especially when their best quarterback is injured, even when your backup is the Super Bowl MVP, when their preseason was one of the most disjointed in football.
What I am saying Eagles fans is stop booing and enjoy this team because take it from someone who is lucky enough for their team to have lasted a long time. It will not last forever, In fact it may not last another year. So enjoy it while it does because often when it stops it takes a long time to come back.
Image Credit: Sports Illustrated