Philly will wait again for title

Ryan Murphy

Philadelphia loves a loser. After watching the Carolina Panthers raise high the NFC Championship trophy on Lincoln Financial Field last week, the city of Philadelphia has changed its nickname. No longer will Philly be called “the city of brotherly love” but rather, “the city of … there’s always next year.”

The Eagles have rolled a lot of conference title losses and given the city of Philadelphia a David Akers’ kick right above the five-hole. The problem is that Philly loves it.

Let’s face it, Philadelphia has become the bridesmaid of professional sports. Joe Carter knows it. Dick Vermeil knows it even more. Enter stage left Mr. Reid and Mr. McNabb. Welcome to the world of Phil Mickelson.

Last week, the Eagles received an invitation. The note read, “We are happy to inform you that you have recently been inducted into the pro sports hall-of-choke teams. Signed, the Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox and Buffalo Bills.”

It’s been 24 years since they had an Eagles Super Bowl, yet the Philadelphia media refuses to give up. Name a Philadelphia columnist who did not pick the Eagles to represent the NFC this year. The list would be shorter than Rosie O’Donnell’s membership at the YMCA.

Think back to the first Monday night game of the season, Tampa Bay at Philadelphia – a rematch of the 2002 NFC title game. All of eastern Pennsylvania had three things on their minds. Revenge. Revenge. Revenge. Final score: 17-0 Tampa Bay. The air was taken out of Lincoln Financial Field faster than you can say, “Ronde Barber picks it off!” So much for a home opener, Eagles.

Fans embraced the 0-1 Eagles though. To them, it was just the first bump in the road to Houston. Despair didn’t really set in until McNabb and the gang were handed a second loss by the soon to be two-time Super Bowl champs New England Patriots.

After the 0-2 start, half of Philadelphia was certain that the apocalypse had come. In typical Eagles fashion though, the team rose from the depths of the NFC East (combined record of 19-29) and predictions starting looming. Perhaps 2003 could answer the question: How many NFC East titles does it take to get to the Super Bowl?

It’s not that winning the division is bad, but come on now Philadelphia, you haven’t even made it to the Super Bowl. What’s the sense of winning if you can’t win?

And the Eagles could not have had fate more on their side this year. The Eagles completed a fourth and 26 with their season on the line! The football gods practically handed the Eagles a title. “Please! Just take it!”

The Eagles politely refused the invitation. Some fans are still waiting at Lincoln Financial Field for the team to show up for the NFC Championship.

Eagle fans have heart, but they aren’t the sharpest crayons in the box. Season in and season out, “This is the year.” Don’t hold your breath. The Eagles have won as many ultimate championships as Michelle Kwan. Saying “this is the year,” is like placing the mortgage on orange at the roulette wheel.

One ambitious Eagle fan bought his brother a framed, enlarged photo of Freddie Mitchell’s fourth and 26 heroics. Do you hang something like that up?

“Hey Hon, what’s this a picture of?”

“Oh, that’s the year the Eagles were this close to going all the way?”

“Which year?”