If a superstar joins your team and no one hears about it, does it count?
I’m stretching a point here. Of course you heard about DeMarco Murray signing with the Eagles in the spring. You just haven’t thought about it since then.
Well, you should. Because the NFL’s other players have.
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We have never been an understated fan base. When prime-time stars from Terrell Owens to Moses Malone to Eric Lindros to Roy Halladay relocated here, we held rallies and pinched ourselves with delight. “He likes us, he really likes us,” we marveled, as Cliff Lee chose the Phillies over the Evil Yankee Empire.
But not so much with Murray, who ditched the satanic Jerry Jones to wear Eagles green. By the way, all Murray did last season was rush for 1,845 yards – 484 than the next guy. In fact, he ran for more yards than 20 other entire teams in the NFL.
His colleagues noticed. When the NFL Network’s rankings of the top 100 players clicked down last week, there was Murray at No. 4. In other words, his fellow players ranked him behind only J.J. Watt, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady. He is, his peers say, the No. 1 running back in football.
And we yawned. Didn’t even cause a ripple on WIP. What gives?
There are factors at work here. Obviously, we will grow more excited about Murray and the Eagles when training camp opens in a few weeks. Most of the attention now is going to the Phillies’ horrific rotation and Joel Embiid’s peanut-brittle foot.
Plus, Murray’s relocation got lost in the high drama of Chip Kelly’s power grab, the Foles-for-Bradford trade, LeSean McCoy’s bitter departure and Tim Tebow’s levitation act. The Eagles are far and away the league’s biggest story this off-season, and that’s without Riley Cooper acting the ass at a Kenny Chesney concert.
I know there is skepticism about Murray. First off, ex-Cowboys have never done well here (hello, Chris Boniol). Second, Murray replacing McCoy is not quite the same upgrade as, say, T.O. replacing James Thrash back in 2004.
And fans are nervous that Murray had a whopping 449 touches last season, the sixth-highest single-season number in NFL history. We’ve all heard the trope that runners experience dramatic drop-off after such a work-intensive season. And it’s true – although Eric Dickerson, LaDainian Tomlinson and Ricky Watters (as an Eagle) can all make good arguments to the other side.
I predict Murray will be the Eagles’ offensive MVP in 2015. Those Cowboy-fan ninnies who attribute his greatness to running behind Dallas’ offensive line will swallow their words as he rushes for 150 yards in Week 2 against you-know-who. This holiday season, the most popular jersey in town will be No. 29.
Trust me, we’ll be shouting about our latest superstar. By then, the Phils starting staff will be a faded memory.