How Eagles' Super Bowl could affect other teams in town

How Eagles' Super Bowl could affect other teams in town

It took only until the end of Eagles Postgame Live Sunday night/Monday morning for the question of the Eagles repeating as Super Bowl champions to make an appearance. 

It's a reasonable thought. 

Doug Pederson, Carson Wentz and the Eagles' young nucleus would appear to give them a chance to compete for the Lombardi Trophy for several seasons to come. 

But what might be more interesting is how the Eagles' first Super Bowl title impacts the other three Philadelphia pro teams.

In the build-up and afterglow of the Eagles' dethroning the Patriots, the Phillies, Flyers and 76ers all said and did the right things to show their support. But make no mistake: There is only so much oxygen in the Philadelphia sporting landscape and the Eagles are currently consuming more of it than ever before. 

So how do the other teams react? Does this Eagles win inspire a greater sense of action among three franchises that are currently at different stages of significant rebuilds?

The Sixers would appear to be the closest of the non-Eagles franchises to competing for a title, thanks to the dynamic duo of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. That being said, it's hard to envision anything the Eagles have accomplished affecting the Sixers' mindset. This is an organization, from lottery manipulation to injury updates, that marches to its own beat in every conceivable way. 

Historically, the Flyers have always been willing to sacrifice the future to improve their chances in the present. But the Ron Hextall era has been marked by a swift departure from that approach. Measured development and careful salary cap management have ruled this day for the Orange and Black. Perhaps the Flyers will feel the need to keep up with the championship Joneses. But the smart money is on Hextall staying the course at all costs.

So that brings us to the Phillies. At the behest of managing partner John Middleton, the local baseball club has undergone an analytically-inclined rebuild that hopes to develop a homegrown core capable of duplicating the success of the Rollins-Utley-Howard-Hamels era. To be fair, the Phillies have dipped their toes back into the deep-end of the free-agent waters this season by inking Carlos Santana this offseason. Generally speaking, however, steady improvement from within has been the priority.

The wild-card here is Middleton's famed competitiveness. Telling Ryan Howard that he wants his bleeping trophy back immediately following the 2009 World Series loss to the Yankees is Exhibit A in that regard. The Phillies' managing partner is also a native son who attended the Super Bowl in Minneapolis. So he knows the significance of what was accomplished Sunday night. He also saw the buzz the Phillies generated in this town from 2007-11 when postseason berths were a way of life.

So does Middleton utilize his vast financial resources to expedite his team's path to contention, not just in Major League Baseball but also on the Philly sports scene? It will be interesting to see.

The Eagles were always the most popular kid in school. Now they're the valedictorian too. And that should have everyone else in the class feeling pretty envious.

Greg Ward still learning wide receiver position after great college career at quarterback

AP Images

Greg Ward still learning wide receiver position after great college career at quarterback

Greg Ward threw more touchdown passes in college than Carson Wentz and had a higher career passer rating than Nick Foles. 

These days, his job is catching passes, not throwing them. 

It’s quite a transition from big-time NCAA Division 1 quarterback to NFL wide receiver, but at 5-foot-11, 185 pounds, the former Houston Cougar knows where his future is.

Ward spent all of last year on the Eagles’ practice squad, learning the nuances of a new position and figuring out how to think like a receiver instead of a quarterback. 

He looked surprisingly polished at wide out in training camp, caught nine passes for 63 yards in the preseason and then spent the season focusing on getting better.

“I still haven’t 100 percent gotten the position,” Ward said after a recent rookie camp practice. “I always feel like I can get better, always feel like I can learn something new, feel like there’ll always be something to improve on. 

“Last year was a big year for me. Just learning a new position, learning football period, learning from Alshon (Jeffery), Torrey (Smith) and Nelson (Agholor), it was a very important year for me.

“Just gathering every bit of information I could watching those guys practice and watching them in games and then learning how to apply what you’ve learned to your game.”

Ward never did get a chance to play, but he said he felt himself getting better as the year went along.

“Everybody wants to play,” said Ward, who led Houston to a Peach Bowl win over No. 9 Florida State in Atlanta at the end of his junior year. 

“You’re a competitor, that’s why we all do this. But I was humbled and thankful just to be on a Super Bowl team. Just to be in the NFL period. Some guys aren’t able to play football at all. I’m just grateful to be on a football team. 

“But this is not the end of my story. I am going to get out there and I am going to play.”

Ward was with the Eagles during their postseason run and he was there in Minneapolis for the Super Bowl.

He used every moment, every day, as an opportunity to improve. Even if nobody could see it happening.

“The biggest thing I learned was just being patient, just being humble,” he said. “Our team last year, there was nobody that was selfish. Nobody who thought they were bigger than anybody else. I learned patience and the importance of doing extra. Getting extra work, studying more, watching more film. That’s what it takes to win a championship.”

The Eagles have quite a crowd at wide receiver, with Jeffery, Agholor and Mack Hollins back, Wallace and Markus Wheaton in the fold and guys like Bryce Treggs, Shelton Gibson and Rashard Davis all also in the mix.

But Ward doesn’t concern himself with the numbers.

“The next step for me is to separate myself,” he said. "As a competitor, especially coming from being undrafted, you have to separate yourself. You have to be different. 

“You have to catch whoever’s eye it is, head coach, position coach, catch everybody’s eyes. They have to see value in you. That’s where I am right now. Trying to separate myself.”

How long will it take?

“I’m leaving that up to God,” he said. “I know I’m putting in the hard work and I know one day it will pay off. I know that day will come.”

Jay Ajayi's publicist denies Eagles' RB trashed an L.A. mansion

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Jay Ajayi's publicist denies Eagles' RB trashed an L.A. mansion

Eagles running back Jay Ajayi is strongly denying accusations made in a lawsuit that he trashed a Los Angeles house after the Super Bowl (see story)

The lawsuit, as reported by TMZ earlier this week, accuses Ajayi of throwing three parties at the L.A. mansion he was renting even after the owner told him not to. Ajayi is being charged $25,000 by the owner. 

Shortly after the story broke on Monday, a representative for Ajayi claimed the lawsuit was bogus. 

Now, we have an even stronger detail from Ajayi’s camp. 

Ajayi’s publicist Melanie Wadden told the Miami Herald that Ajayi didn’t throw any parties and caused no damage to the property. 

Additionally, Wadden denied the home owner’s claim that Ajayi pushed him in a menacing manner after confronting him.

“Jay was not involved in any physical altercations,” she said. 

Ajayi’s publicist also told the Herald that Ajayi was a guest and not the renter and the owner wanted the group to pay cash instead of through Airbnb. 

"The entire group voluntarily left the property several days early — no security or police were ever involved or on-site," Wadden said. "They filed a complaint against the owner through Airbnb back in February that included screenshots of the owner asking for cash and trying to communicate outside of their platform [against Airbnb policy]."

Ajayi, who came to the Eagles in the middle of last season in a trade, has one year left on his current contract.