Eagles

Jeff Lurie blown away by Super Bowl stories from Eagles fans

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Jeff Lurie blown away by Super Bowl stories from Eagles fans

ORLANDO, Fla. — Eagles owner Jeff Lurie has seen the replay of Super Bowl LII seven times since watching his team win the game live in Minneapolis on Feb. 5. Every time since the first, he knows damn well how the story ends.

It doesn’t matter.

When Tom Brady hits Rob Gronkowski for a fourth-quarter touchdown to put the Patriots up, 33-32, Lurie gets nervous. And when Nick Foles is about to deliver that crucial fourth-down pass to Zach Ertz later in the quarter, on the game-winning drive, Lurie can’t help but hold his breath.

“You’re sort of like a fan who just can’t believe it at times,” Lurie said.

Lurie held court with Philadelphia reporters Tuesday night at the lavish Ritz-Carlton Orlando during the NFL’s annual meetings and said the Super Bowl championship sinks in every day. Every morning, he enjoys waking up a champ. The Eagles have already begun designing their championship rings.

More than anything, though, Lurie expressed how big of an impact hearing stories from fans have meant to him.

“The incredible nature of being able to see Eagles fans fulfilling their championship dreams is indescribable,” he said. “And it wasn’t just the parade, it wasn’t just on the field with the confetti, it’s every day since. And the stories, I can’t tell you how many times people come up to me, wherever it is, there’s always Eagles fans everywhere, and they may just see you and start crying. They may see you and start hyperventilating.

“The stories they have with their mothers, their fathers, who they got to experience it with. I don’t know if you could explain it to fans everywhere in the country, but those of us who know the passion and the love for this football team and how much they’ve wanted the Eagles to win a Super Bowl, it’s like it gets played out every day in a real emotional, real personal way. I always say we’ve got the best sports fans in America, if not the world. But the personal stories are what drives it to be so special.”

Lurie said he considers himself among those who got to experience the Super Bowl victory with someone special. His 90-year-old mother Nancy was able to get to Minneapolis on the Saturday before the Super Bowl and watched the game the next day with her son. Nancy Lurie stayed out until 2 a.m. as the Eagles partied into Super Bowl Monday with the Lombardi Trophy.

When asked if there was a special moment in all of this for him, Lurie said when Brady’s final pass dropped incomplete and he realized there was no time left, it was an “enveloping emotional feeling” that quickly passed when he realized he needed to get down to the field. He said his goal was to not become the first Super Bowl-winning owner unable to lift the Lombardi because of tears in his eyes.

Of course, Lurie lifted the Lombardi and soaked in the moment. But the next day, he was already talking to Howie Roseman and Doug Pederson about how they could improve the team. Since then, it’s been a balancing act between euphoria after winning and desire to do it again.

“I was obsessed to begin with,” Lurie said. “I’m equally obsessed to be the first team to try to repeat in a long time. And try to put us in a position over the next several years to have an opportunity to repeat what we just accomplished.”

Chris Long was moved by Carson Wentz’s tweet about George Floyd

Chris Long was moved by Carson Wentz’s tweet about George Floyd

Chris Long was moved on Thursday night when his former teammate Carson Wentz posted a tweet calling out “institutional racism” in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis. 

Long, who was Wentz’s teammate for two seasons, has been on the forefront of social and racial issues for years. But it was certainly noteworthy to see the Eagles’ franchise quarterback speak up. 

On his podcast, The Green Light, Long was joined by Warriors head coach Steve Kerr and one topic the two discussed was the role of white coaches, athletes and influencers in subjects like racial inequality and injustice. 

Even Long admitted he sometimes finds himself “tiptoeing” on these subjects but he said Wentz’s public statement gave him chills. 

It think that’s something white players, white coaches, influencers, should hear. I just had this conversation with Carson Wentz. I shared with you that tweet. I was very moved by that. You heard Shannon Sharpe talk about that this week. He said, ‘Who’s gonna step up? We need Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers. It’s great that we’ve got X, Y, Zs of the world but we need the big-name quarterbacks’ and that sort of thing. 

“So to see that happen and [Wentz] said ‘institutional racism.’ He typed those words out. That was really important to me. I got chills thinking about it. It’s so bare minimum, but that’s all we need. We just need guys to address it.

In addition to Wentz, Zach Ertz and Julie Ertz also tweeted a statement about Floyd on Thursday evening. 

Here’s the clip of Sharpe that Long referenced: 

Kerr was a particularly well-timed guest for Long’s podcast. The former NBA player and Warriors head coach has also been very outspoken on social issues, especially ones of racial injustice. The two discussed the importance of white people of influence raising their voices. Kerr spoke about finding a next step beyond public statements. 

Kerr said he typically reaches out to his friends immersed in the battle for racial equality and Long said he texted Malcolm Jenkins at 10:07 p.m. on Thursday night to ask what he can do to help. 

“I understand to a degree why some guys don’t (speak out),” Long said. “Because it’s a minefield.” 

He seems very proud of Wentz for doing so. 

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Eagles still following Andy Reid's philosophy on offensive linemen

Eagles still following Andy Reid's philosophy on offensive linemen

The day Andy Reid was introduced as the Eagles’ new head coach — Jan. 11, 1999 — he made it clear that building a strong offensive line was going to be one of his biggest priorities.

Maybe the biggest.

Who’s going to play quarterback? He answered by saying the important thing is that he'd be protected.

That’s how Andy Reid thinks. He played offensive line at BYU, coached offensive line in college and the NFL, always had an affinity for offensive linemen. Still does.

“The offensive linemen are the smartest guys on any football team,” Big Red said the day he was hired here, more than 20 years ago. “I’ve got to look out for my guys.”

The Eagles had allowed 56 sacks in 1998, 4th-most in the NFL, and over the previous five years they had allowed the second-most in the NFL – 253. 

From 1982, when sacks became an official stat, until 1998, the year before Reid arrived, the Eagles allowed a staggering 935 sacks — 93 more than any other NFL team.

When Reid arrived, the Eagles had gone 20 years without a decent offensive line and hadn’t had a lineman make a Pro Bowl since Jerry Sisemore in 1981.

Names like Antone Davis, Ron Solt, Reggie Singletary, Mike Zandofsky, Bruce Collie, Ben Tamburello and Matt Darwin became punchlines around here.

And — not coincidentally — the Eagles hadn't been very good, either. They won just two wild-card games in the 20 years before Reid took over.

When did the Eagles start winning? When they finally had decent offensive lines.

When we look back at Reid’s legacy in Philadelphia, the most important thing he did was introduce a new emphasis on building around the two lines, an emphasis that continues more than two decades after he first arrived here. 

The Eagles have always had great defensive lines, but developing a quality o-line was critical for Reid and Tom Modrak, who built those early playoff teams under Reid.

Howie Roseman and Doug Pederson both learned under Big Red and share his philosophy and have continued to make the o-line a priority.

The last 20 years, the Eagles have the No. 5 offense in the NFL and they’ve had an incredible 10 offensive linemen go to a total of 26 Pro Bowls, most in the NFL.

In the last 20 years, Eagles offensive linemen have been picked to more Pro Bowl teams than in the previous 54 years combined in which there was a Pro Bowl or NFL all-star game.

Who’s the left tackle on the all-time Eagles team? Jason Peters.

Who’s the center? Jason Kelce.

Lane Johnson and Brandon Brooks are on their way there.

There are seven offensive linemen in franchise history who've made at least three Pro Bowls and all but Hall of Famers Jim Ringo and Bob Brown played for either Andy Reid or Doug Pederson. Roseman had his hand in acquiring four of them.

The Eagles have the 5th-best record in the NFL since 2000. Only the Colts and Packers have reached the playoffs more. 

They’ve been one of the most successful franchise in the league for two decades, and they’ve won football games a lot of different ways, but the hallmark of this franchise since the day Reid first set foot in Philadelphia has been strong offensive lines.

A lot of this has to do with Juan Castillo and Jeff Stoutland, who've coached the Eagles' offensive line for all but two of the last 23 years. They’re two of the best in the business. 

But ultimately it’s come down to talent. 

And a franchise that’s been hit or miss at a lot of other positions has been able to consistently build elite offensive lines during this entire stretch, despite a couple notable misfires.

If you’re looking for one thing that ties together all the good Eagles teams of the last generation it’s gifted offensive linemen.

Thomas. Peters. Kelce. Brooks. Johnson. Runyan.

Now, Peters is gone, Kelce is 32, Johnson and Brooks are 30. 

Isaac Seumalo looks solid and we’ll see about Andre Dillard.

It’s up to Roseman to keep the pipeline going, a pipeline that’s helped guide the Eagles to two decades of success and a Super Bowl championship. A pipeline started 20 years ago by Andy Reid.

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