We now have a 2018 Mike Lombardi Freezing Cold Take of the Year Award candidate.
Our friends over at NBC Sports Northwest had an interesting post go out the other day. In said post, Brian Noe suggested that the Eagles will not only not repeat as Super Bowl champions, but that they won’t even make the playoffs.
Before you just say “what?!?!” and click off this post after reading that liquid hot magma take, please stick around while I shred this gentleman’s argument to complete nothingness, point by point.
History needs context
As Noe points out, the struggles of Super Bowl champions the following season are well documented. However, let’s take a look at the last five defending champs. Two of the last five made it back to the Super Bowl and lost (Patriots, Seahawks), one lost in the AFC Championship Game (Patriots), while two missed the playoffs.
But let’s take a closer look at the two that didn’t make the postseason. There’s the Broncos, who lost HOF QB Peyton Manning the following season. I’m aware Manning was a shell of himself, but their replacement plan was Trevor Siemian — point made. Likely future HOFer DeMarcus Ware returned but was too banged up to contribute and wound up retiring at season’s end. They also lost the quarterback of their defense in linebacker Danny Trevathan.
The Ravens slipped mostly because they lost two HOFers — one recently inducted, one soon to be — who were also emotional leaders on defense in Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. They lost six-time Pro Bowl center Matt Birk to retirement and All-Pro guard Keleche Osemele missed more than half the season because of an injury. They also lost their leading receiver, Anquan Boldin.
The point is, you have to look at the context of why those teams missed the postseason. When looking at the Eagles’ offseason, you could make the argument that they actually got better. Future HOF tackle Jason Peters returns. Jordan Hicks, who is a Pro Bowl-caliber linebacker when healthy, will be back from an Achilles injury. Darren Sproles, one the best toys in Doug Pederson’s chest, will be back and looks as spry and dangerous as ever.
The Eagles lost LeGarrette Blount, which isn’t something to gloss over, but his departure is mitigated with Sproles and Jay Ajayi being here for a full season. They lost Torrey Smith but likely upgraded with Mike Wallace. They lost Vinny Curry and Beau Allen to the Bucs but added former Pro Bowlers in Michael Bennett and Haloti Ngata.
Side note: Yes, Philadelphia is “new to this whole winning-a-Super-Bowl thing” but the Seahawks have won *doing the math … carry the one … * exactly one (1) Super Bowl, and that just happened in 2014. But I suppose you guys have extensive knowledge of ‘ships given the mighty Portland Timbers won their MLS Cup in 2015.
Foles the folk hero, Wentz the next coming
Yo, show some respect when you bring up the names Nick Foles and Carson Wentz. Noe's argument about Foles is shortsighted.
Foles had one of the greatest postseason runs in NFL history. From our resident Nick Foles statistician Reuben Frank: Foles is now atop the all-time NFL lists in postseason completion percentage at 71.9 percent and passer rating 113.2 (minimum of 100 attempts). Aside from that, he also had one of the most bonkers regular seasons of all time in 2013 when he threw 27 TDs to just two (2!) interceptions and had a 119.2 passer rating — good for the third-best single-season passer rating ever (minimum 300 attempts). You can't just focus on his struggles and ignore all his success. Foles, like every quarterback ever not named Steve McNair, struggled under Jeff Fisher. He isn’t going to Canton, but Foles is a pretty damn good football player.
As for Wentz, yes, him coming back from his ACL injury isn’t great, but let’s not forget that he was that dude for 13 weeks last season. He would’ve ran away with the MVP had it not been for the injury. The guy also threw a TD on the very next play after blowing up his knee. He’s also looked pretty fantastic considering he’s under nine months removed from surgery. Roe brings up Robert Griffin III, who struggled to regain his form after his knee injury but conveniently left out Adrian Peterson, who ran for over 2,000 yards eight months after surgery.
From my perspective, the Eagles have the best QB situation in the NFL, with the Super Bowl MVP serving as a backup to a future MVP.
Schedules change and luck is what you make it
I’m only going to gloss over this because they’re silly arguments.
As Noe even said, things change so frequently in the NFL, it’s impossible to know in August which games will be tough. So analyzing a “brutal schedule” in August just seems pointless.
As for luck … c’mon, dude. Because no team has ever gotten lucky in winning a championship? Were the Eagles lucky when they lost their starting middle linebacker, future HOF tackle, franchise QB/MVP favorite and a guy who has the eighth-most all-purpose yards in NFL history? Find a new slant.
Eagles fans, assemble
Brian Noe’s Twitter handle is @TheNoeShow and he has invited you to come at him. Let’s be respectful, but let’s remind him of these facts as well as reminding him that the Seahawks’ dynasty is falling apart and that the Portland Trail Blazers are an elite regular-season team. A bunch of GIFs of Foles hoisting the Lombardi wouldn’t be bad either.
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