It was a nice, sunny March day and I was back at the NovaCare Complex for the first time since the Eagles won the Super Bowl.
It was strange.
I got there early to get a good seat for a press conference like I normally do, walked through the same gate as always, dropped my bag at the same desk I have used for a couple years now. Then I began to walk down the sidewalk toward the main building as I have done countless times through sun, wind, rain and snow, wins and losses, good times and bad, over the past several years. But something felt different.
I couldn’t shake the feeling. “What’s it all matter?” I thought. “They already won the Super Bowl. It’s over. What are we still doing?”
Maybe that’s why free agency lacked the same buzz and why the draft seemingly sneaked up on all of us. Were you nearly as pumped up about this year’s draft? And, no, it probably wasn’t just about the lack of picks.
Suffice to say, if I were a player, I’d be at the beginning of a massive Super Bowl hangover. But after growing up in this area, everyone knows the Super Bowl has always been the goal. We all knew there would never be anything greater; and we were kind of right. The Super Bowl run was incredible, improbable. The parade was unforgettable. And now I’m back on a spring day about to talk to Nigel Bradham about his new contract, almost like none of that had ever happened?
Because no one in this town ever felt what it was like to win a Super Bowl, it became a preoccupation. It’s all that ever mattered. Recently, Jason Kelce said that for the first seven years he spent in town, all he ever heard was, “Just get us one.” No one ever thought about multiple Super Bowls or the Eagles’ possibly becoming a dynasty. No way! It was all about getting that first one. That was the finish line.
And because everyone was so preoccupied with winning that first Super Bowl, it became ingrained in the DNA of every Eagles fan. That all-consuming yearning for the first taste of the Lombardi Trophy became as integral a part of being an Eagles fan as wearing green or loving Brian Dawkins.
So now that they’ve actually done it, I wonder if some Eagles fans feel like a little piece of them is missing.
I wonder if some Eagles fans are wrapped up in some bizarre existential crisis.
It’s not a bad thing, of course. No one’s saying that. That would be crazy. But I wonder if Eagles fans — on top of their unrelenting euphoria — are feeling something like what Red Sox and Cubs fans had to feel after their teams finally reached the mountain top. All they ever knew was falling short; it became a part of who they are. Scratch that … who they were.
Eagles fans are in a similar predicament. When the Eagles took down the Patriots in February, everything they had ever known was wrong. Go ahead and cue the Aladdin music; this really is a whole new world.
And Eagles fans have to get used to living in it. They’re gonna do it with smiles on their faces.