Not Another “Next Year” Year For A Long-Time Eagles Fan

When the 2011 season opened in September, I thought to myself… this could be “that year”, you know? This could be the year I’ve been waiting for since I was a ten year old kid lying on my bed listening to the Eagles on the radio (since they hardly ever sold out) because the games were always blacked out in the Philadelphia area. Born several years too late (I was only three) to see Norm Van Brocklin, Chuck Bednarik, Tommy McDonald and the rest of the 1960’s team win an NFL Title and experience what surely was heaven on earth for an Eagles fan! But this could be the year we go to the Super Bowl and win it!

I had this feeling back in 1980 after we beat the Cowboys in the NFC Championship and made it to our first ever Super Bowl and the right to face the Oakland Raiders. Since we had already beaten them earlier in the year I thought… this is going to be gravy! The Raiders wound up being the first ever Wild Card team to win a Super Bowl. “We’ll get ‘em next year” we all said around town and in our little circles only to see our dreams dashed by an NFL strike that would shorten the ‘81 season and a Giants team that ended it in the first round of the playoffs. “Maybe next year”.

It would be twenty four years before we would ever see that championship stage again. Randall Cunningham and Eagles of the late ‘80’s and early ‘90’s couldn’t get us there. Even with one of the best defenses to ever be assembled, featuring the likes of Reggie White, Jerome Brown, Seth Joyner and Eric Allen, we still couldn’t get it done.

We discovered that Norman Braman didn’t love us but a seed of hope was planted after Jeffrey Lurie bought the team after the ’93 season. After watching Rich Kotite go “Bye-Bye”, Ray Rhodes would give us two playoff seasons before landing us again in the football abyss as the years to come would be lean and dry as Eagles fans hungered and thirsted for a winner. No one even thought “Next year” in Philly, let alone say it. Enter Andy Reid.

Donovan McNabb would be the first player chosen in the Andy Reid era with the number two overall pick in the 1999 draft and in only his third year would lead The Eagles to their second ever NFC Title game. The St. Louis Rams though, would prove too much for the game but inexperienced Eagle Team losing to the eventual Super Bowl Champs. If you listened closely, you could hear it again… “We’ll get ‘em next year”.

“Next year” though, became a reasonable expectation as we would see three more NFC Title games before that magical 2004 season “McNabb to T.O.” and finally… making it to the big stage once again… Super Bowl XXXIX! But Tom Brady and a dynasty in effect in New England and, I’m surprised to hear myself say, the ineffective leadership of arguably the best quarterback to ever play in Philly sealed our fate and prepared the way, yet again for… “We’ll be back next year”. We all know how that ended.

Annnyway… I am so-o-o tired of “Next Year”! Funny thing is, after a 1-4 start, that’s the one thought that fought hard to infiltrate my mind. I had to battle with the idea that next year is a very real possibility, once again. Even with all the “Dream Team” studs in rank. But after a substantial scare and what looked to be a collapse, a “season” choke of historic proportion, our team has the look of the team we expected to see from the beginning of September. Instead of 3- 5 turnovers a game and desperately fighting, clawing to try to hold on to a lead in the end only to fail, this Eagles team showed they can pour it on from both sides of the ball and not look back as they dismantled what is supposed to be a very talented Dallas team last week!

Michael Vick is looking sharp and LeSean McCoy is slowly becoming perhaps the best running back in football. And quiet as it’s kept; we still have the best receiving core in the game including the re-emergence of tight end Brent Celek. Mix that in with a top defensive line and a growing, meshing linebacking core and secondary and… we match up well with any contender in the NFC! Come on and shout now… this is great news!

No longer do I want to hear the stories of the great championships of the past. They’re part of Eagles history but enough now about Steve Van Buren’s exploits in the TWO titles he won back in 47 and 48. And how the Eagles gave the Packers their only Championship lose in ‘60. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great thing to have a few titles under our belts but I want one that “I” can enjoy first hand… feel me?! I want “some” I can tell the stories about… you get it.

A lot is riding on the shoulders “this year” of Coach Andy Reid and number 7. Andy has been here before but Mike? In “this” town? He’s gotta do it now. With all the mega upgrades to the team it “has” to be now! Last year the Packers peaked at just the right time and they had a lot of things go their way. This year, the Eagles have yet to peak and yeah, we could do with a few balls bouncing our way. Will we win out? Probably not but we’d better not lose more than a couple more.

There’s a monkey on the backs of the Philadelphia Eagles fans as well as the players and coaches. As fans though, we are helpless but, as for the team? To steal a line from former Buffalo Bills coach Lou Saban in one of the most famous halftime pep talks of all time… “You can get it done. What’s more? You gotta get it done.” You see, inside many of us, there’s a little ten year old boy who cries after every lose and unfulfilled season. He never, wants to hear “Next Year” mentioned ever again.

13 thoughts on “Not Another “Next Year” Year For A Long-Time Eagles Fan

  1. that should be the mantra for this eagles team going forward “You gotta get it done”, no more talk, bs, how great we are playing, just get it done

  2. OOOOHHH, I was trying to figure this one out for a bit. I think I got it… you guys want the Eagles to win the superbowl this year? Is that it?

  3. I have no problem with this story….but I’m gonna say is……we’ll get it one year, we will. I just hope I’m alive to see it.

    You know, I always question whether I will cry if the Eagles won a Superbowl. When I really sit and contemplate about it, I guess goosebumps and my eyes start swelling.

    The question isn’t whether I will cry or not — its how much I will cry and for how long.

    The funny part is — I have no problem admitting that.

  4. Mylow, good article, but the Rams weren’t the eventual Superbowl champs the year they beat us in the NFC Championship game; Patriots were.

  5. This is the best article I’ve read which articulates the true feeling of Eagles Fans.

    We’re tired of the words like, potential, the future, competitive, gelling, hope, almost, close.

    How many playoff games going into the 4th us Eagles fans everywhere asked.?…. Again?

    The Wing Bowl was created as satire, telling Eagles fans the only bowl we’ll ever win is the wing bowl.

    I’m tired of these players with the one liner….
    “we know how the Eagles fans feel.”

    You don’t know how we feel….

    Eagles fans have been come NFL anaylist’s by looking at how teams have managed to build from nothing only to leap frog over us and get that ever so elusive Trophy.

    Bucs, Saints, Patriots, Rams, Colts,…all these teams built while we were competitve and lifted the Lombardi.
    And that’s not mentioning The Cowboys and Redskins in the early 90’s

    If this is not the year…it may never happen.

  6. Songs I get your feelings – I really truly do.

    But your last setence, um… why? If the Eagles don’t win the superbowl this year, why does that decrease their chances of winning it next year or at somepoint after that? The only significant picies that might leave are 10 and 22…big pieces sure, but who knows who they’ll draft/sign.

    I get that you feel like it ‘has to be this year’, but in reality, it could very well be next year or any other year in the future. Look, we’re all going to be Eagles fans until the day we die. And I plan on us all living through a bunch of Eagles seasons!

  7. the entire season, hopes of super bowl all rest on this game, if they lose, 3-5 at the half, no team in the NFC east has won the division at 3-5 midway since modern 16 game schedule (since 1978), so it really boils down to this game

  8. Does it even really matter when you really think about it.. It’s Entertainment and only a Game and a Team with Players who come and go.. Is anyone’s life really affected by what the Eagles acheive or don’t acheive.. Did anyone lose their job or a family member or their health when the Phils laid an egg and underperformed last month, I Didn’t, yes there was pain,anger, frustration of expectations not met.. but my life went on like everyone else’s.. I am pretty sure that J-Ro,C Lee,Coach Manuel really don’t give a hoot about me and my circumstance in life, So why should I make this “Super Bowl” or “Bust” mantra for the Eagles . So I can stick my chest out a little further, So I can tell Cowboy/Giant/Redksin and all other Football fans ,”See my team finally won and is not a bunch os Losers”.. From the little, to the big of things in life, who really cares, Enjoy it for what it is, a Football team playing a game,competing with other teams to win a Championship..Every Season 32 Teams,Coaches,Players and Fans root for their Teams for 4-5 months only to have 1 Champion.. Each Season in Today’s NFL is really independent of previous teams as Rosters,Coaching Staffs,Rules change so often that a bad team last year could be a good team this year.. Bottom line, is to enjoy it, but not to take it so serious that it distracts you from enjoying the really important things in your life such as your faith,family,health and your work..
    Let’s Go Eagles ..

  9. no paulman its more than entertainment,the Philadelphia sports teams have become inextricably entwined with who we are, especially the eagles, its about our fathers, our fathers before them, I am reminded that everything I drive past cemeteries in north Philly and see eagles flags waiving over fresh burials, there is a guy at my gym whose entire back are eagles tattoos, people spend thousands of dollars they really don’t have on the eagles, so no, it is more, way more, to say its just entertainment is akin to saying Christmas is just about gifts

  10. To some Jake,and you can say the same about Cleveland,Detroit,Buffalo and almost every City that has Professional Sport Franchise’s and I admit I used to get all worked up and plan my weekends around the Eagles, and be simply miserble when they lost, but no more, I have too much to do, too much to take care of and to enjoy rather than getting frustrated or even overjoyed about what my favorite Football does or doesn’t do… It’s called balance in one’s life.. What one chooses to be passionate about is their choice and all I am saying in the end, does it really matter if the Eagles win
    5 Super Bowls or never Win a Super Bowl.. and for me and my personal situation, it really doesn’t matter what they achieve or not..

  11. After 13 years does the formula that does not work suddenly work?

    Have the laws of football physics changed?

    If Andy can keep last week’s game plan when he is under pressure and down by 10 then the Eagles have a chance.

    When Andy panicks and starts dialing up bombs on every play then the Eagles lose. McCoy ran well last year. Andy took the ball out of his hands.

    If Andy keeps running the ball, and force defenses to adjust to it, then the big plays in the passing game will come.

    Of course us stupid, complaining, fans, don’t know anything, and we should have blind faith in a 13 year overweight arrogant fat failure.

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