It’s time to ask the question. Are the Eagles a team of destiny?
Only the most optimistic person would have predicted the Eagles would be 9-4 and tied for first place in the NFC East. But there is a feeling that something mysterious may be at work here, and that feeling is generated by more than simply the Birds’ record.
Think about how the Eagles reached this point. Think about Michael Vick.
Two years ago, Vick was in jail. Less than 10 months ago, the Eagles couldn’t get a team to bite and offer anything decent in a trade. Three months ago, Vick was the backup quarterback. Today, Vick may be the NFL’s most valuable player.
The schedule gave the Eagles two weeks to prepare for the Colts, who were coming off a Monday night game against a division rival. Mother Nature gave the Giants a Monday night game prior to playing the Eagles next Sunday.
The snowstorm that wreaked havoc with the Giants’ travel plans, stranding them in Kansas City, and caused the collapse of the Metrodome roof isn’t exactly an everyday occurrence. But it is less improbable than Vick’s story and the Eagles’ success.
Don’t forget that the Eagles lost middle linebacker Stewart Bradley at the beginning of the season – and now, again, for the end of the season. Their starting center missed virtually the entire season. DeSean Jackson missed several weeks due to a severe concussion. Their starting quarterback was injured.
Actually, both their starting quarterbacks have been injured. First, Kolb sustained a concussion in the first game of the season. Then Vick sustained a rib injury on Oct. 3 during a 17-12 loss to Washington.
Then again, if Kolb hadn’t been injured in the opener, perhaps the Eagles never would have discovered the magic of Vick. Think about this: if Kolb hadn’t been injured, would Andy Reid have pulled Kolb for Vick?
With Kolb at the helm, the Eagles may have been a good team. But it’s unlikely they would have been a top contender. With Vick at quarterback, people are starting to talk about the Super Bowl.
The Super Bowl will be played in Jerry Jones’ new football palace. The team Jones and some others thought was destined to play there was Dallas. But the Cowboys, expected to be the class of the NFC East, started the season 1-7.
The Eagles had nothing to do with the Cowboys’ demise. The Cowboys’ self-inflicted wounds, however, are yet another piece of the puzzle that has fallen into place for the Eagles.
It has been an amazing season. The Eagles have already won more games than many of us predicted (I thought they would finish the season 7-9). But the job isn’t done. Not by a long shot.
To be a true team of destiny, the Eagles have to reach the Super Bowl. That goal is still a long way off.
All the talk about destiny and fate is fun, but you can’t count on destiny. You’ve got to get the job done on the field.
All the destiny discussion will disappear quickly if the Eagles lose Sunday’s NFC East leaders showdown with the Giants. The talk will then turn to what the Eagles will need to do just to make the playoffs.
There are some issues that could potentially spoil the Eagles’ magical season. Injuries are a major concern. Bradley is the latest significant injury, and rookie defensive end Brandon Graham will miss the rest of the season after tearing the ACL in his right knee against the Cowboys.
The greatest injury concern is Vick. He has taken a lot of punishment this season – not enough of it drawing penalty flags, according to Reid. An injury to Vick would be devastating to the Eagles’ playoff and championship aspirations.
Wait a second. Wouldn’t that be all this story needs?
What if Vick gets hurt … and then Kolb steps in and leads the Eagles to the playoffs. Then Vick returns in the NFC championship game to take the Eagles to the Super Bowl, which they, of course, win.
If that scenario plays out, nobody could deny that the Eagles are truly a team of destiny.