Sunday, January 10, 2010

Yet Another Thud

Maybe I'm bad luck.

After a whole season of staying home for Eagles games, and either watching them on network TV, following along with an internet gamecast, or catching occasional live cut-ins on the NFL Network's Redzone channel -- a piece of brilliance that deserves a hundred blog posts singing its praises -- the last two weeks, I decided to go out to an establishment to cheer on my beloved (and perennially disappointing) Iggles.

Each of the last two weeks, including last night, they've had their ass handed to them on a silver (with blue star) platter.

Before these past two weeks, the previous time I went out to watch the Iggles was in last year's NFC Championship game in Arizona. That was a more crushing defeat. I had belief in that game. They were VERY close to advancing to the Super Bowl...where they probably would have choked again, but that's a different story.

I went into last week's regular season finale still believing this Iggles team had a chance this year. All they needed was a road win in Dallas, and they'd be 12-4 (pretty impressive), have a two-seed (a week off, then at least one home game), and a legitimate shot at reaching the Super Bowl.

But, after watching them get shallacked 24-0, which ended up giving them the six-seed (three straight road games, starting right back in big-D, or Arlington, or wherever the hell they put that monstrosity of a stadium), I lost all hope. ALL of it.

Not once all week did I feel any excitement about the wild card game. Not once did I feel any hope that they could turn it around and get on a run like last year -- when they reached the NFC title game also as a six-seed.

And, my plan all along yesterday was to sit at home on a Saturday night, drink a few beers, pause the DVR, and start watching the game after the kids went to bed so they wouldn't have to see or hear my frustration with what I fully expected to be another loss to the hated Cowboys.

My brother called me mid-afternoon yesterday and said he and several of his buddies, that I've hung with numerous times over the years for various football games of yore, were going to a new sports bar in Aurora to watch the game, and wanted to know if I was interested.

After some debate, I figured that it would probably be the last chance I'd get to go cheer on my team at a place like that -- which is always more fun than watching it alone at your house -- so I decided to go.

I don't want to say it was a mistake, because I did have a good time sharing misery with the rest of the group -- who, surprisingly carries a good assortment of Eagles fans (rare for us in Illinois) -- but, it certainly was a letdown watching another thud last night from the guys in green.

In fact, we were paying more attention to the bar's main event, the Blackhawks game (it was a Chris Chelios establishment) as they roared out to a 5-1 lead in their game -- a game they would eventually lose in a shootout.

That's just it though. I never got all that upset last night. Sure, we were disappointed, but I knew it was coming. I never had faith after last week. The team is a mess. None of their wins came against a playoff team. They were suddenly racked with injuries, they looked listless on defense, abandoned the running game (surprise!) and seemed to have lost whatever mojo they built while rattling off their six game win streak heading into week 17.

So, as I sit here on the morning after yet another Iggles season that has ended without a Super Bowl ring, I'm starting to get disturbingly used to these final chapters, and it's not even getting me that upset anymore.

The Phillies title in 2008 I'm sure has taken away some of that frustration, but the more I see McNabb, or Andy Reid, who, yes, have been there for what has unquestionably been the most successful run the franchise has ever known, the more it becomes apparent that these two, working together, are just not good enough to be great...if that makes any sense. They're good enough to be good. Plain and simple. They're not good enough to go all the way.

Maybe it's time for one of them to go. Or both.

I've seen this movie too many times, and the ending is the same every year.

The fact that it's not even getting me that upset anymore is what is troubling me the most.

Spring training is just 38 days away.

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