Eric Marmon

The biggest losers from Super Bowl 52

The biggest losers from Super Bowl 52

The fans of the Philadelphia Eagles will have a parade on Thursday, celebrating our first Super Bowl victory. It’s a celebration of Doug Pederson, Nick Foles, and every man on this roster, and every Eagles roster before it. It is a day of good vibes, happy thoughts, and free beer. It is, quite simply, a day for Champions.

But hey, it’s also fun to acknowledge there were some pretty big losers this Sunday.

There was Tom Brady, the sorest loser of all, who didn’t shake Nick Foles’ hand and showed that five Super Bowl rings can’t buy you class. There was Cris Collinsworth, who maybe, just maybe, was secretly hoping the Patriots would get Numero Six. There was even President Trump, who’s probably bummed his close personal friends won’t be able to visit this offseason.

But there’s no bigger loser than the New York Giants.

Sure, the Dallas Cowboys fans, with their two playoff victories in the past twenty-two years, have to be feeling pretty crummy. Same with Washington, who also has just two playoff wins in the past quarter-century. Watching Foles have more postseason success in a month than they’ve had in a generation is the sort of thing that will make a 75-year-old oil man scream into his pillow.

But there’s no bigger loser than the New York Giants.

Giants fans have built their bravado for the past quarter-century on the idea of RINGS. Eli Manning has RINGS; it doesn’t matter that he’s a goof, or that he’s handed out interceptions like hugs, or that he has the leadership qualities of a month-old avocado. Eli has RINGS, and he got them against Brady, Bill Belichick, and the New England Patriots, defeating the GOAT quarterback and the GOAT coach on the world’s biggest stage, and being the only team on the planet who was able to make that claim.

Well, the only ones, until Sunday night.

The Eagles' Super Bowl victory diminishes the Giants only real accomplishment in the millennial age. Don’t get me wrong; they still have two to our one, and four overall. I’m sure every Giants fan who fell back on the line ‘The Eagles have never won a championship!’ in arguments the past thirty years will still be quick to point this out. Inarguably, they still have that (for now).

But it seems safe to say the sting of that sentence doesn’t burn nearly as bad as it did a week ago.

Through all their bravado, Giants fans know the truth; since the turn of the millenium, our Iggles have owned them. I mean, OWNED them. We’ve owned them so thoroughly, we should have to pay John Mara a salary. The Birds are 25-14 against New York since 2000, and 12-4 since 2010. That includes knocking them out of the playoffs in the seasons before AND after there 2007 Super Bowl Championship. It includes the Brian Westbrook miracle return to kick-start the Birds' season in 2003, and of course the Mike Vick/DeSean Jackson Miracle at the New Meadowlands. Shoot, let’s throw the 61-yard Jake Elliott game-winner from earlier this week too, just for kicks (no pun intended).

Giants fans know the Birds have been better than them in every aspect for a while. Those two Eli Super Bowls have been the spray of Febreeze over what's been a pretty stinky franchise overall. They’re 137-139 since 2000, and just 42-54 since the last Super Bowl win in 2012. That’s despite having an (alleged) franchise quarterback in Eli Manning since 2004.

The Birds, meanwhile, are 172-115 since 2000. The truth is, the Giants stopped being scary to the Eagles the same time that Y2K did. All they’ve really had to hold on to is that they’ve beaten the Patriots in the Super Bowl.

Now they’re not the only ones.

So enjoy the celebrations, Eagles fans, because there is so much to celebrate. The Balboa-esque story of No. 9, the reality that this team is here to stay, the fact that we finally get to buy these hideously ugly hats ($39.99? Worth it!)... or even just the free beer. There’s plenty of reason this week to hug your loved ones, thump your chest, and scream PHILLY PHILLY at the top of your lungs.

The misery it causes Giants fans is just an added bonus.

Dear New England, has it really been 13 years?

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USA Today

Dear New England, has it really been 13 years?

Ah, New England. It is so good to see you again, after all these years. Have you been thinking about us? We’ve definitely been thinking about you.

Has it really been thirteen years? Sounds like things have been pretty crazy on your end. Your coach got caught cheating. Then your quarterback got caught cheating, too. Wow, even the baseball team in your city picked up the habit, huh? I guess we’re not the only city that trusts a process.... though that seems to mean something a little different to you guys. “The Patriot Way” sure doesn’t hold as much water as it did back in 2004.

Things have been pretty busy over here, too. We got away from ourselves for a little bit there, went through this whole ‘Chip Kelly’ phase. Though it wasn’t all bad; he did help us give you guys a whipping in Foxboro back in 2015. Malcolm Jenkins had a 99-yard pick-six in that one. You’ll get to see him again this Sunday, by the way.

We heard you ran into Andy Reid a few months back. He never changes, huh? Though he seems to have figured you guys out, handing you a 42-27 beating back in Week 1 at home. Oh, and also a 41-14 beating back in 2014. Our new head honcho, Doug Pederson; he’s picked up a thing or two from Big Red, though we tend to think he’s a little better in a couple areas.

Hows Terrell Owens, you ask? Awkward story, actually. He betrayed us, but don’t feel bad. We got the last laugh. Revenge like that is kind of a big theme for us here. You ever see Rocky II? It may be worth checking out.

Speaking of revenge, the Giants send their best. I don’t know what you see in them. We’ve beaten them 16 out of the last 20 times we faced them, including in the playoffs the year after they ruined your perfect season. Asante Samuel (who I’m sure you remember) was able to hold onto the ball that year. Oh and by the way, that masterful defensive gameplan that took away your 19-0 chances? That came from us. Jim Johnson sent his regards.

Anyway, we’re really looking forward to reconnecting on Sunday. We know it wasn’t a big inconvenience for you; having to go through the 9-7 Tennessee Titans and the Blake Bortles-led Jacksonville Jaguars. I’m not sure if you heard, but we’ve had a bit of a bumpier path. Not that we’re complaining; it’s just so good to see you again.

Because we read the ESPN piece, and we heard that Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia are abandoning ship. And while Tom Brady still looks pretty decent at age 40 (a hair transplant will do that), time is an undefeated opponent no matter how many cute Facebook videos your creepy trainer asks you to make. Whether you are ready to accept it or not, it’s pretty clear this crazy ride y’all have been on may be coming to an end, and soon.

That’s why we’re just so happy to be here with you, even if we’re starting a back-up quarterback, and a back-up left tackle, and a back-up middle linebacker, and a back-up kick returner. It was worth a year of listening to your boy Mike Lombardi talk smack about our head coach in some Machiavellian attempt to get his buddy a head coaching gig. Seriously, we’re so glad to have you here with us again, even if it means two whole weeks of having to listen to national media experts use the word “mystique” when talking about a 65-year-old man with a hoodie and a camcorder.

Because when this dynasty of yours does come to an end… and make no mistake, it will… we were always kinda hoping we’d get to be the ones to end it.

We’re looking forward to seeing you on Sunday, Patriots. It really has been too long.

Eagles are right — nobody respects this defense, and nobody ever has

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USA Today Images

Eagles are right — nobody respects this defense, and nobody ever has

“Nobody respected us as a defense. Gimme some respect right now...I’ll tell you what. I wanted to set a tone. We wanted to set a tone as a D. It’s not just me, it’s dem Defense, it’s my line, it’s Burgess, it’s Kearse, it’s all them Boys, Trott. We came and we brought it every doggone play.”

Those are the words of Mr. Brian Patrick Dawkins just moments after the last Philadelphia Eagles home NFC Championship Game. For those who are too young to remember, or perhaps have forgotten due to fits of hysteria because Andy Reid didn’t know how to run a two-minute drill a couple weeks later, the Eagles and their fans spent the week leading up to that game listening to a lot of national media telling us just how great some fella named Mike Vick was.

The commonly-held belief was that Vick and the Atlanta offense was going to come into The Linc and run circles around an Iggles defense that, many had forgotten, had been Super Bowl quality the entire 2004 season.

And here we are, nearly a decade and a half later, and history appears ready to repeat itself.

Sure, the characters have changed, but the theme remains the same; this Eagles defense, which has been number one against the run all season long, which is allowing just 13 PPG at home this year, and which just held the reigning MVP Matt Ryan and football’s best wide receiver Julio Jones to a paltry 10 points (all of which were aided by turnovers on the offensive side, mind you).... That defense is being told they are the underdogs (again), that their season will end on Sunday, and that they have not done enough to earn the respect of the national media.

And hey, this didn’t just start this week. Go back to Los Angeles on December 10th, when Wentz went down. All of a sudden, the Eagles were guaranteed to be a one-and-done come the postseason, even as the D clearly lifted the Birds to victory that Sunday against the ‘high-flying’ Rams offense. Sure, the assumption that the Iggles were done had more to do with Nick Foles than anything else, but it also tied back to the reality that as a whole, nobody outside of Philly saw this defense as Super Bowl quality.

Ask Brian Dawkins how he felt when Terrell Owens went down in 2004 and people started counting the Birds for dead.

But hey, for this defense, disrespect comes with the territory. This is a D built with rejects, cast-offs, and the underappreciated. They are led by a defensive coordinator, Jim Schwartz, who has been told by both the Detroit Lions and the Buffalo Bills that he wasn’t good enough to work for them. Not exactly the most prestigious of franchises to be fired from, like being told you weren’t good enough of an actor to be on “Jersey Shore.”

Then there’s Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, Ronald Darby, Tim Jernigan, and Nigel Bradham: all guys spurned by the teams that drafted them, yet all starting and contributing in a major fashion to the success of the best defense in the NFL.

There’s Jalen Mills, the 7th-round pick most people wanted to drive to the airport last season, who inserted himself into Philadelphia Eagles lore by knocking Julio Jones to the ground last Saturday.

There’s Mychal Kendricks, who has spent so much time on the trading block, he’d be better off buying, and who’s snap counts have been less consistent than the President’s twitter feed.

There’s Vinny Curry, who had to fight for playing time for the team he grew up rooting for.

There’s Beau Allen, another 7th-round pick who has already had a tenure longer than Bennie Logan, a guy at the same position drafted four-rounds earlier.

There’s Dannell Ellerbe, an undrafted linebacker turned Super Bowl champion who was out of the league just a few weeks ago, now starting in the middle for the NFC East Champs.

There’s Patrick Robinson; a former first-round bust who the Eagles nearly cut in training camp, and yet reinvented himself as one of the top slot corners in the league and has led this D in interceptions.

There’s Chris Long, the dog-mask-wearer himself, a former second-overall pick who had to be picked off the NFL free agency scrap heap this summer, showing he can still produce at age 32.

Even arguably their best player, Fletcher Cox, had to watch as a nose tackle was valued, and drafted, right before him back in 2012.

And I write ‘arguably’ next to Cox because I, for one, am done underappreciating and devaluing the contributions and play of Brandon Graham. There’s no one in recent Philadelphia sports history that has been more disrespected than he. Drafted by Andy Reid at a spot most experts considered a reach, the guy many Birds fans knew as “Not Earl Thomas” was nearly traded by Chip Kelly. He’s come back from an ACL injury, he’s switched from defensive end to linebacker to defensive end again, and he now leads a team one win away from the Super Bowl in sacks and tackles for a loss. And BTW, he had as many tackles-for-a-loss this season as Aaron Donald, and more than guys like Demarcus Lawrence, Khalil Mack, and Bobby Wagner.

From "overreach" to "first round bust" to “trade bait,” and now arguably the best player on what could potentially be a Super Bowl defense. And yet still not getting the respect he deserves.

Is there anything more Philly than that?