Apparently I picked a bad season to get apathetic about American football, as my hometown Eagles decided to do well this year.
They were the top team in their conference. They got home field throughout the playoffs. And despite not having their Actual Quarterback (who watched the game in his street clothes, recovering from whatever surgery they inflicted on him after The Injury), they managed to win today. This means they’re one game away from a Super Bowl appearance, an achievement that hasn’t happened since 2005 and only happened once before that.
They lost both times, but we’ll skip lightly over that for now.
It was actually a good game, much to my surprise – competitive, entertaining, and generally worth seeing if you like football. None of the Experts thought the Eagles would win. The Eagles made history as the first #1 seed playing at home to be an underdog to the visiting #6 seed. To be honest I kind of agreed with that assessment – though how much of that was my analysis of the possibilities and how much of that was just Native Philadelphian Pessimism is something of an open question. We’re not an optimistic bunch, we Philadelphia fans. Having the teams we have will do that to you.
I’m glad the Eagles are winning these days. It’s nice to see my team do well. And given the teams left standing in the playoffs as I write this, it is entirely possible that in a couple of weeks there will be a championship game between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, which I think would be fun even if it probably would give the NFL head office heart palpitations since nobody outside of Pennsylvania would care.
I’m also kind of glad that the Eagles didn’t do this last year.
My dad was a big Eagles fan. That was his team, the way the Phillies were my grandfather’s team. When I would call him during the season we’d always find some time to dissect the latest collapse or bizarrity inflicted by the Birds upon the game, and somehow we’d always keep cheering for them.
I don’t think I would have forgiven the Eagles if they’d waited until the very next season after he passed away to get good again. I’m glad they weren’t anything special last year. It’s okay for them to be good now.
I miss being able to pick over the games with my dad, but that’s how it is and what are you going to do about it is what I’d like to know. I can probably reconstruct how the conversation would go, anyway – we certainly had enough of those discussions. Perhaps I’ll do that later tonight, in my head.
So I watch, and I remember.
And for now the Eagles are still playing for the championship, the final defeat hasn’t yet happened, and all things are still possible.