Remember Why We Bleed Green

27 November 2019 Opinion

Listen everyone, I know how exhausted we all are. Exhausted of finding ourselves questioning play calls, decisions made by the front office, and spending $40 on parking just to be disappointed after a loss.

There has not been much to cheer for the past two weeks. After the bye, we knew that we would up against it facing two of the top teams in the league in the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks. With an injury riddled team, our once highly criticized defense kept us in both games; however, our offense faltered.

Throughout the week, whether I have talked to you personally or on social media, I have expressed my issues with the team, but more importantly, I have expressed my optimism. This article is not going to give you the cure to fix what ails this team, but I intend to cure what ails you.

All week, I have seen the best and worst from this fan base. This is nothing new. Andy Reid years, Chocolate Chip years, Dougie Fresh years, it’s more of the same. However, now things are a bit different. In the words of Heath Ledger’s Joker, “there’s no going back. you’ve changed things… forever.”

The 2017 Philadelphia Eagles changed things forever.

For decades, our fan base has been insulted, ridiculed, and out right disrespected front the inside out. There are several teams who have never won a Super Bowl, but for some reason, we were always the example. Local and national media alike takes digs at us. They never focus on all of the good our players and fans do in the community and around the world.

“Your fan’s boo your team!” Heck yeah we do. And the true Philadelphia athlete’s not only are ok with it; they appreciate it. We keep them honest. Real competitors not only play the game, they are constantly working to improve their skills. If they aren’t playing up to par, they want to be held accountable. Holding each other accountable is how we achieve greatness. And that’s exactly what we did in 2017.

Super Bowl 52 was and still is special to so many of us for numerous reasons. For some people, it was just a cool experience. For others, they just are glad they bet Philly. A lot of people just hate the Patriots. But for some, it wasn’t just about winning the game. It was about finally winning in life.

For many of us, it’s wake up, work, eat, and sleep, and our constellation prize is a vacation for a week or two. For Eagles fan’s we spend vacation money on Eagle tickets. For a few hours in the parking lot and in the Linc, we get to escape into the madness.

When you are a die hard Eagles fan, you learn at a young age that you spend more time losing than winning. It’s a sad truth. But know this, it is the same in life. For me, I am glad it’s this way. If there were no valley’s, the peak’s would not be as great. To appreciate something truly great, you must live through something truly awful.

The year of the Super Bowl, I sat in my college house watching the draft. I wanted to be down at the Art Museum with my dad and brother but I had practice and couldn’t make it down. My roommates, friends, and I watched as the cameras showed the fans and our city. All I could think of was, what if.

What if we won the whole damn thing and were right back on those stairs.

All off season I kept preaching to my friends and family that it was our year. My uncles, (who have heard it a million times) just nodded and said, “we’ll see.” My friends were a little more optimistic but weren’t bought in and thought teams like Green Bay, Seattle, and New Orleans were practically a lock to rep the NFC.

I could not be told different.

Week 1 opens up and it began with a bang. Carson Wentz explodes into year 2 and gets the team off to a red hot start against the rival Redskins. Even after a tough loss in Arrow Head, the Eagles seemed to be destined for greatness after a miracle kick by Jake Elliott.

The season goes on and Wentz is on an MVP pace and a historic pace for the Eagles franchise.

While all of this is happening. My friend Nick was going through chemotherapy. He was not an Eagles fan but we both loved football. As a Steeler’s fan, he would always take jabs at me about their Super Bowl’s. All year I would tell him he had to come up with another insult after we took it home.

Additionally, my family was having financial trouble and we needed to find a new home. On top of that, I was in my senior year of college and trying to balance being  a student, athlete, friend, and son. I was set to finish toward the top of my class and slide right into a teaching job; however, my heart was feeling a different way. In the excitement of the Eagles season, I told my parents and teachers that I was no longer going to teach and that I wanted to become a sports journalist. Without hesitating, all three of them were bought in. Their confidence in my dream at that moment is still just as strong till this day.

Riding high, I remember setting up the living room for company as we prepared to watch the Eagles travel to LA and take on the Rams. The Birds started off hot and the shootout began. People say that when a devastating event happens, you remember where you  were and what you were doing. I will never forget how I felt and where I was when Carson went down against the Rams. But the injury isn’t what I remember.

I remember that he stayed in the game.

He didn’t quit on his team.

Carson stayed in the game with a torn ACL and fired a touchdown to Alshon which gave us the lead.

On Monday, we received the news we feared. Carson was done for the year. A would-be MVP season was lost. All around Eagles Nation, fans were dejected and could only wonder, “why us.” We wondered how the football god’s would allow us to get to such heights to feel gutted.

After the announcement, I immediately got on Twitter and posted that Nick Foles will still win us the Super Bowl and I can’t wait for the 30 for 30 to come out in 10 years. Boy, the Twittersphere did not want to hear it. Our QB was lost for the year and optimism was the last thing they wanted to hear, but my faith held strong.

Old Saint Nick came through for us and ran the table for the rest of the regular season.

Unfortunately, my friend Nick did not stay around to see the parade. My friend Sean did not stay around to the watch the parade. Since graduating high school, I watched as 6 of my friends and old teammates were buried. It is not fair and will never be fair to me or their families, but nothing in life is fair. That Super Bowl wasn’t just for me or you, it was for everyone you ever stood next to and said E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES! with since day 1.

Somethings just don’t make sense.The Eagles winning the Super Bowl did not make sense. We faced injury after injury but the players held each other accountable and did the impossible.

The 2017 Eagles made me believe that dreams can in fact come true.

Die hard fan’s had their dreams come true. Only true die hard fan’s understand what that season, super bowl, and parade meant to all of us. Other fan bases and fair weather fans will never and can never understand. This isn’t just the game of football to us. Eagles football is our lifeblood.

We clock in Monday-Saturday just to get to Sunday with the Birds. A crap week can turn around with a W, and a crap week can be made even worse with an L. But other fan bases don’t understand what a loss means to us. Many of them are angry and annoyed about losing, but as an Eagles fan, life as we know it is over until we play again.

So I get it people. I get why you are frustrated. I get why you are sick of seeing the same poor play and mistakes week in and week out. But I don’t get why you are giving up. I don’t get why some of you are giving up on Carson.

Listen, every Eagles fan loves Nick Foles. He will forever be a sports legend and an immortal legend in the city of Philadelphia. But he has moved on. The Wentz is injury prone crap is over; Foles has only played 2.5 games this year due to injury and doesn’t have a win. People love Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes and already forget that Carson was
“the guy” only two years ago. They also fail to realize that he is tied with Russell Wilson with league leading 15 straight games with a passing TD.

Can and should Wentz be playing better? Yes.

But to ignore or not acknowledge all of the other issues surrounding our QB1 is not only ignorant, it makes me question your fandom.

People are waiting on Carson’s downfall just to prove their hot take.

Couldn’t be me…

I would rather be wrong for the right reason than right for the wrong reason.

Carson is owning up to his shortcomings, but more importantly, he is working to make himself and this team better.

So Eagles fans, I ask you this. Have you given up? Have you counted out the Birds? Because they haven’t counted themselves out. They didn’t in 2017, they didn’t in 2018, and to be honest, even in our worst seasons in franchise history, our players never quit. When you put on that midnight green and have those wings by your ears, you represent something bigger than yourself.

You represent Eagles Nation. Not Philly. Eagles Nation. Like the English used to say, “the sun never sets on Eagles Nation.” Every where you go in the world, there is an Eagles fan. Our players understand that and they take pride in that. None more than Carson. Whether he is working tirelessly to rehab injuries he didn’t ask for, handing out meals to the homeless in the rain, or visiting sick children at CHOP, he is working to make himself and Eagles Nation better.

When my family didn’t have a home, I took a long look in the mirror and knew I had to step up. It wouldn’t be easy but I knew there was a path. Carson is doing the same thing. All of us have. We have all had a moment in our lives where we had to step up. How would you feel if people were screaming, “no excuses” as the others around you were also struggling to come through for you? I believe Carson will step up. It’s in his DNA. Just like in LA, he couldn’t give up without going out swinging. So I ask you now Eagles Nation:

Do you believe?

Do you believe that the Eagles can beat the 2-9 Dolphins?

Do you believe that the Eagles can beat the 2-9 Giants at the Linc?

Do you believe that the Eagles can beat the 2-9 Redskins?

Do you believe that the Eagles can beat the 6-5 Cowboys who haven’t beat a team of .500?

Do you believe that WE can run the table and beat the Giants to take the division and go to the playoffs 3 years in a row?

We are getting healthy at the right time, now it’s time to get hot at the right time. The 2019 Eagles still have a pulse and the last time I checked, as long as you have a pulse, you are still alive. The NFL season is a boxing match. We have 16 rounds. We’ve lost a good amount this year. So slap that dirt off you knees and elbows and get off the mat. Just because we are knocked down, it doesn’t mean we can’t get up.  There’s  5 rounds left until we get to dance in a bigger ring, I’m not letting the ref reach 10, and I sure as hell am not putting this in the hands of the scorers table.

 So Eagle’s Nation, remember why you bleed green. Remember those mornings with your family waiting in anticipation for kick off when you were a kid and how you passed that tradition down to your own kids. Remember all of the chirping and insults spoke toward you and our team. Remember your friends and family who left too early. The one’s who are counting on you to hold it down and be twice as loud for the both of you.

I bleed green in victory.

I bleed green in defeat.

I will bleed green until my very last breath.

And as long as our Birds are breathing, all 31 other NFL teams better be on standby because you don’t want to see us in January because you’ll be watching us from you couches in February.

We All We Got, We All We Need.

As Always, Fly Eagles Fly.