A couple days ago, my esteemed colleague, Dave Zangaro, wrote a thoughtful piece about how hard it is to get to a Super Bowl, how the Eagles will never have everything lined up so perfectly again and how that makes Sunday’s blown opportunity in Arizona particularly painful.
Dave made a number of very good points, he supported his opinions with cold facts and he painted a sobering case that this version of the Eagles could very well never reach another Super Bowl.
It was a very good piece.
And I couldn’t disagree more.
Yeah, it is hard to get to multiple Super Bowls because only the truly elite franchises get there again and again.
The thing is, this is a truly elite franchise.
The last 10 years, six teams have reached two Super Bowls – the Eagles, of course, but also the Patriots four times, the Chiefs three times, the Seahawks, Broncos and Rams twice.
The Patriots had the historic combination of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. The Chiefs, we won't mention their quarterback and coach, but they’ve also got an elite GM in Brett Veach. The Seahawks got there with Pete Carroll, Russell Wilson and GM John Schneider, the Broncos with Peyton Manning, GM John Elway and a couple head coaches, the Rams with Sean McVay, GM Les Snead and a couple quarterbacks.
The teams that reach the NFL summit over and over have at least two of three things: A superstar quarterback, an exceptional coach and a brilliant and innovative general manager.
The Eagles have all three.
Jalen Hurts is 24 years old and already the second-best quarterback in football. He just put on a historic display in his first Super Bowl and you know he’ll keep getting better. He has a chance – a chance – to be one of the best ever. He really does. If you made a list of every quarterback to throw for 300 yards, complete 70 percent of his passes and rush for 70 yards in a playoff game, there’s one name on that list and it’s Jalen Hurts.
Nick Sirianni had never been a head coach on any level until 25 months ago, and now he’s led two teams to the playoffs and one to a Super Bowl and stood toe-to-toe with a Hall of Fame coach and a Hall of Fame quarterback and lost by three on an embarrassment of a playing field that neutralized his team's best players, the pass rushers.
All Howie Roseman has done is become only the second GM in history to build two Super Bowl teams six years apart with different coaches and different quarterbacks while navigating the team through an ugly quarterback divorce, serious cap problems and an almost complete roster overhaul.
When you have a quarterback, coach and GM combo at this level, you’re not going to have too many down years.
Hurts? Even including his rookie year under Doug Pederson, he’s 25-13 in his career, and his .658 winning percentage is 13th-highest in NFL history among quarterbacks with at least 30 starts. Behind guys like Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady, Roger Staubach, Joe Montana, Peyton Manning and Terry Bradshaw.
Sirianni? He’s 23-11 in his head coaching career, and that .676 winning percentage is 16th-highest among head coaches with at least two years of experience (and five of the guys ahead of him coached between the 1920s and 1940s).
Roseman? Since he was restored to power in 2016, only the Chiefs have reached the postseason more than the Eagles and only the Patriots and Bills have also made it five times.
A Hall of Fame owner, the best general manager in the NFL, a coach got to a Super Bowl in his second year and a young quarterback who's already one of the most dangerous in the league.
Now, it’s never easy to stay on top. The immediate challenge is replacing two coordinators, signing Hurts to an extension and keeping some key free agents. Then you have to draft well to work around a massive QB contract and maintain the unique winning culture Lurie and Roseman have built.
But there’s no team in the NFC the Eagles should fear. The most impressive young quarterbacks in football are in the AFC – Mahomes, Joe Burrow, Josh Allen, Justin Herbert, Tua Tagovailoa, Trevor Lawrence. Who are the best NFC quarterbacks under 28 other than Hurts? Daniel Jones? Kyler Murray? Justin Fields?
As long as Hurts stays healthy and Roseman doesn't start drafting firemen again, the Eagles will have a chance at a deep playoff run every year, and not many teams can say that.
It’s definitely true that a lot has to go your way to get to a Super Bowl, but the fundamental pieces are all in place at the NovaCare Complex.
I like their chances to get back to another Super Bowl under Hurts and Sirianni. Honestly, I'll be surprised if they don't.
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