Will it be the Eagles’ first or the Patriots’ … I’ve lost count
After ramping up in mid-August, if you count when the high schools kicked off, the football season ends this weekend.
It could do so just the way Sports Editor Emeritus Rick Pedone and I predicted back then. We both chose Alabama to win the College Football Playoff and New England Patriots to win the Super Bowl.
For our next trick, we will use our great powers of prognostication to pick the sun to rise in the East on Monday!
I could gloss over that I had them beating Florida State and Green Bay respectively, and they were barely mediocre thanks to quarterback injuries respectively.
But then there’s this: those who know me are aware of my pedigree — birth by Philadelphia, degree by UCF.
So you get it when I say it’s been a looooooooong football season.
The Knights’ undefeated run, paused by Hurricane Irma and punctuated with the USF-Memphis-Auburn trifecta of heart attacks. The Eagles’ hot start, the Carson Wentz injury, the Nick Foles revival.
Could I be celebrating a National Championship and a Super Bowl title?
I’m kidding about the first part, but it’s fun to listen to the Alabama people get their chewing tobacco in a wad about the Knights’ self-proclaimed title. From a month ago. It’s too easy.
I will celebrate UCF’s undefeated title season, with a win over its archrival (which Alabama ain’t got) division title (which Alabama ain’t got), its conference title (which Alabama ain’t got) and Peach Bowl title (over the team that’s the reason Alabama ain’t got any of it).
But now on to pressing issues: the grand football finale (until the NFL Combine, which the NFL Network will begin promo-ing, like, next week, so the season never really ends).
Could the forlorned Philadelphia Eagles really win the Super Bowl?
It’s just their third appearance since the game debuted in 1967. That ties the number of Super Bowls for the New England Patriots — in the last four seasons.
The Green Birds are understandably underdogs against the Greatest of All Time combo of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. There isn’t enough garlic, sunlight or wooden stakes to take them out. Roger Goodell couldn’t hire enough lawyers to do the job, either.
Millions of football fans have already let out a collective sigh of, “Not again!” If you’re among Patriots Nation, what do you celebrate in victory — throwing another trophy on the pile?
Big deal. You’re good, we get it. Loud and clear.
The Eagles’ three Super Bowls occurred when I was a little kid, then a bachelor adult, and now a husband and two-time dad. When the fourth one happens, will I be retired? Eating through a straw? Serving as worm food?
The last time the city celebrated a football championship, my departed father listened to it — on the radio. In 1960.
And an Eagles win means the NFC East will be the only division in which every team has a Lombardi trophy. Look it up.
That probably explains why and how Eagles fans have gotten … what’s the word — agitated? — over the years … watching the Cowboys, Giants and Redskins win 12 of them.
Eagles win Sunday and all that vinegar turns into wine. Trust me.
So you get what the stakes are here?
While an Eagles win will put a long-term grin on my face, I want this for so many other people. Millions of people in the Delaware Valley older than me but born after 1960, rooting and begging and pleading (and at some point, booing) all their lives without experiencing the promised land.
I want this for the plumber in Manayunk. The cable guy in Cherry Hill. The banker in Wilmington.
I want this for my five first cousins.
I want this for my aunt’s niece’s dad, “Big Bob”, who passed away two years ago.
All those guys (and gals) who suffered through coaches like Joe Kuharich, Marion Campbell and Ray Rhodes, and the ownerships of Leonard Tose and Norman Braman — which reminds me, I want this for Jeff Lurie, the Eagles’ owner since 1995.
I get the sense nearly everyone south and west of Trenton, New Jersey — in New York they’re probably rooting for a Seinfeld rerun — is pulling for the Eagles just so they don’t have to see the Patriots’ trophy pile expand.
I think we’re all smart enough to see that Philly counters Brady and Belichick (as well as likely the game’s best tight end, scrambled brain or not) with a backup quarterback and second-year coach. I get the Eagles can run the ball well, and the Patriots aren’t that special on defense. But it’s all still so daunting.
It makes for a tough, official Super Bowl pick.
Patriots 28, Eag—
No. Nope. Not today, boys! They’re gonna do it for Big Bob!
Eagles 28, Patriots 24.
Or they won’t. But the sun will still rise in the East.
Other picks from around the room, and around town:
Brian “Big Man” McBride: Eagles, 31-28.
Petey “The Gators are Gonna Win (Eventually)” Covino: Pats 27-20.
Matt “Guy Who Signs My Check” Plocha: Pats, 34-30.
Andrew “Flaming Spear” Sullivan: Pats, 34-27.
Gateway High coach Marlin “PantherCane” Roberts: Eagles, 37-20.
St. Cloud coach Bryan “Jersey Guy” Smart: Eagles, 28-24.
See you in August!