Sunday, January 29, 2023

On the Road to Victory

So the Eagles are going to the Super Bowl, for the second time in the last five years. They won it back in 2018, a hard fought victory over the soulless machine that was the New England Patriots back then. Nobody outside of New England wanted the Patriots to win so I got a lot of support as I wandered around southern Wisconsin in my Eagles gear in the days leading up to the game. It was nice. I can’t say I’m used to that as an Eagles fan.

The Eagles were underdogs then. This year, though, they’ve been the top team in the NFL since opening day and have never relinquished that rank. They finished tied for the best record in the league and have won two playoff games by a combined score of 69 to 14. They will sneak up on nobody.

Though I have to admit I got a bit annoyed at the media coverage of the game prior to kickoff, since it was entirely centered on the opposing quarterback – an interesting story to be sure, but after a while you start to wonder who he’s going to play against. That part got left out more than you’d think. I’m sure he didn’t forget – athletes get paid to remember such things – but if all you had was the pregame reporting you might be forgiven for thinking he was out there by himself.

Every year I pay less and less attention to the NFL and more and more attention to other sports – hockey, soccer, and so on – but what can I say? When my hometown team is doing well, I’ll cheer them on. I’ve been cheering for this team since the Nixon administration, back when they would routinely take two or three years to accumulate double-digit wins. I don’t think it counts as bandwagoning under these circumstances.

I didn’t get to see them win today. We don’t get that channel among the various streaming services that we’ve somehow ended up subscribing to these days, although it’s possible that I might be wrong about that. We’ll check before the Super Bowl. I did follow the game online, though.

Can I just take a moment to point out the utter futility of the City of Philadelphia greasing the light poles? What did they think that would accomplish? Seriously. All that happened is that the people at the top of the poles are greasy now. I hope they save themselves the trouble in February. Win, lose, or draw, there will be people at the top of those poles at the end of the game.

It’s an odd feeling not having my dad around to talk about this. He was a huge Eagles fan, and I get it from him. We'd talk about the Birds a lot in our weekly calls. He’s been gone since before the last time they won it all, though. My brother and I did share a few texts after the game, and that was nice. New traditions and all that.

So now there is the interminable two-week Hype Delay before they actually get to play. There will be all sorts of storylines manufactured – they’re playing the Chiefs, who are coached by their old coach and who have been the league’s elite team for most of the five years since the Eagles won it all, so there's a lot of storylines to choose from – and the Sports Knobs will have their usual field day. And then there will be the game, and somebody has to win so Why Can’t Us?

Why can’t us, indeed.

Fly, Eagles, Fly.

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