The last time the Eagles played in a conference championship game was the 2008 season. The two Super Bowls the organization has taken part in were 24 years apart. Their last championship was 1960. Following that win over Vince Lombardi’s Packers, they didn’t reach the playoffs again until 1978. There was a stretch from 1981 to 1988 without a playoff appearance.
This is not an exercise in pointing out the futility of the organization. Eagles fans have been through enough heartache. It’s more of an attempt to illustrate that opportunities like Sunday against the Vikings don’t come along very often.
Yes, Andy Reid’s clubs played in four consecutive NFC title games, winning one. An impressive sustained stretch of success. But any Eagle follower old enough to remember still bares the scars of those losses, in particular, the Tampa Bay and Carolina defeats.
For fans of teams like the Patriots, getting to Super Bowls has become a birthright. Not here. Anyone even remotely old enough to remember the 1960 title win is on life’s back nine. If you told them then, some 57 seasons later, their team would still be searching for a championship, they rightfully would not have believed you. Now, they would like to win one before they get to the great clubhouse in the sky. And anyone 62 years or under has no idea what winning a football championship feels like.
I personally would love to see the Eagles win this week, then in two weeks in Minnesota for my dad and my uncle. Both were young men in attendance that day at Franklin Field. Both are now pushing eighty. I’m not alone. How many of us have heard from a parent or an older relative, “I just hope I see an Eagles' Super Bowl win before I die."
A little morbid? Maybe. But as real as it gets. Philadelphia real. I would also like to see the city enjoy that feeling it had in 2008 with the Phillies. I can only imagine what the celebration and parade would be like if it was an Eagles win.
This 2017 run has been particularly sweet because it was not expected. The Eagles have sped up the process that many thought would take another year or so for them to be Super Bowl contenders. On top of that, they’ve overcome so much from an injury standpoint. To be playing in a conference final is a testament to a mentally tough team and coach, a front office that has made more than its share of moves to help get them there.
But this comes down to the fans, young and old, who have endured a lot and stayed loyal. Enjoy the build-up and the moment Sunday. You never know when the next shot is coming along.