Woe Is Us.
“The sports gods have something against us.”
“These refs are out to get us.”
“We always go up against the hot goalie.”
“Things are going too well, something bad is going to happen.”
Admit it, if you’re a Philadelphia sports fan, those words to some degree or another have come out of your mouth more than once. True, you could probably apply those paranoid rants to most sports cities. But today, you, the Philadelphia sports fan, have every right to feel like there’s a higher power conspiring against you.
Carson Wentz's injury is not a gut-punch, it’s a haymaker that just connected clean on the jaw and down went the Eagles' Super Bowl hopes. With Wentz under center, the Eagles were capable of beating any team. With Nick Foles, a playoff win or two is surely possible. The Birds have overcome serious injuries this season. Jason Peters, Jordan Hicks and Darren Sproles were major losses for this team, and to the players' and the coach’s credit, they have been able overcome them.
But with all due respect to those guys, including future Hall of Famer Peters, this is different — 57 years of championship futility went to 58 with 3:53 left in the third quarter last night in Southern California when Wentz's left knee got crunched.
Things were just too perfect. Second year, MVP-front-running quarterback, tough defense, head coach proving all the naysayers wrong, leading his team to the best record in the conference. A bye, home-field advantage, Minnesota here we come. Finally putting an end to the “How many rings do you have?” discussion. Dare to dream. It was all setting up too perfectly ... then boom.
If you grew up here or have lived here long enough, you bare the scars of Philadelphia’s sports past. Whether it’s the Phillies' collapse in 1964, Black Friday, Bernie’s eye, Leon Stickle, the Sixers up 3-1 in 1981, Randall’s knee in 1991, Joe Carter, JVR over Patrick Kane, Ryan Howard’s Achilles ... and that's just to name a few. The list could go on and on and on. The Philadelphia sports fan's paranoia is not unfounded. And here is yet the latest, shining example.
To be blunt, Wentz has brass balls. We didn’t need to see him stay in the game for four additional plays after his knee injury Sunday to know that. He stands in the pocket with defenses bearing down on him like no quarterback I’ve ever seen. His fearlessness is perhaps the greatest attribute of his many. He’ll dip his shoulder and take off out of the pocket like a running back. He’s strong enough to shrug off a would-be sack in the pocket and make an incomprehensible play. But the courage comes with a price and the bill came due. And you know what? It sucks. Only in Philadelphia can you have the irony of winning a wild road game with a backup quarterback against a really good team while clinching the division title ... and yet you’re somehow left feeling deflated.
It’s not easy being green, as Kermit The Frog once said. Truer words have never been spoken.