Did the Philadelphia Eagles Break My Heart, Again?
The first time my heart was broken was after my first girlfriend broke up with me (she was Kathy Ireland, I was in middle school, and it was all a dream).
The first time my football heart had ever been broken was when the Philadelphia Eagles traded Brian Dawkins to the Denver Broncos. (Footnote: As a Bills fan, I was devastated after Ray Finkle missed a 47-yard field goal to allow the NY Giants to run out the clock and win Super Bowl XXV. But that was just childhood heartbreak.) Losing to John Gruden’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2002 season NFC championship game (only to have that baby-faced, know-it-all win the SB) was heart wrenching. Losing in Super Bowl XXXIX—devastating. All were circumstances beyond the control of the Eagles. But when the Eagles apparently self-mutilate themselves by releasing star players, I wonder if it’s time to break out the chamomile tea (and scotch) and watch reruns of Gilligan’s Island (which always transport me to a better place).
The Eagles have a way of tossing super stars shortly after they have peaked (or in Dawkin’s case—while they are peaking). And of course, the reason for my concern of late is the trade of LeSean McCoy to the Buffalo Bills for a former Oregon Duck, Kiko Alonso. Yes, there are some good reasons for the trade (e.g., Shady is a shifty, east-west back, while Chip’s system clicks with a decisive north-south runner, or so I’ve heard), and no, those reasons don’t necessarily make me feel any better.
But have my beloved Eagles ripped out my heart yet again to test my faith in them?
In short, probably not.
I’m no stats or analysis junky, but it seems like the Eagles try to unload super talent just after said talent peaks (not to be confused with expires). Perhaps said talent could have one or two more productive years, but trading sooner may lead to higher leverage. That being said, whenever the Eagles do trade one of their stars, I feel like the sky is falling. For starters, without Shady, who will be RB1? Sproles is an X-factor and I love him, but I don’t know how he’ll do as the primary one with the bulls-eye around his neck and I’m pretty sure he’s close to forty. I hear that there is a great free agency market for running backs, but until a deal is inked, I will be blacking out from holding my breath. I also hear that this year’s draft class is deep with great backs. Again, I am now unconscious from the lack of oxygen and uncertainty.
Thus, I feel justified in feeling that my heart is crushed. But is it really?
When Brian Westbrook was traded across the country to SF, I thought the running game was being handed over to the new-kid upstart and the foreseeable future was bleak. I was wrong.
When Weapon X was traded, however, there was no calculus to justify or rationalize the trade—at least to this fan. B-Dawk was the heart of our defense and he immediately became the heart of Denver’s. Seeing him go was true heartbreak.
This is not that.
Disappointing as it may be now, the Eagles will fly on. I wish the Bills and Shady the best, unless of course, they happen to meet the Eagles in Super Bowl XLX.