The Eagles finally came back to win a game in the fourth quarter, they scored touchdowns from the red zone, they balanced runs and passes and even found a useful purpose for Michael Vick. So why is no one happy after the 24-20 win over the Bears?
Now, before you attack the messenger, please understand that I am very happy about the victory, and I was downright bubbly when I began my WIP radio show yesterday morning, expecting a long-overdue outpouring of enthusiasm for a team that has been flat-lining for weeks. What I found, however, was quite another story.
The 2009 Eagles are like no other team I have ever encountered. They have a winning record (6-4), some spectacular young players and as good a chance as anybody to go back to the NFC Championship game for the sixth time this decade. But they are not beloved the way Eagles teams were a few years ago. Not at all.
For example, when I presented the argument that Andy Reid coached with a sense of urgency against the Bears — using the no-huddle offense early and then unleashing Vick on a 34-yard run that led to a field goal — the fans said that his performance didn’t erase the past. They expressed dread that the rumors are true and that he is about to receive another hefty contract extension.
McNabb took even greater heat. After an exceptional fourth quarter and a brilliant winning drive, he received more snarls than cheers. The only reason he won, many claimed, was because Jay Cutler was an even bigger choke artist. And why did McNabb offer a cheek-to-cheek counseling session to Cutler after the game?
It may not be showing at the box office yet, or even in the TV ratings, but the Eagles have a big problem. The smug style of their executives — namely, owner Jeff Lurie and president Joe Banner — and the sour personas of Reid and McNabb have alienated the fans in a new and deeper way than at any time in their decade-plus together.
The cumulative effect of losing Brian Dawkins and signing Vick, of failing against bad teams like the Raiders and despised ones like the Cowboys, and of not correcting problems and then not answering questions about them has finally taken its toll. These Eagles are losing their popularity in this football town, and they’re losing it quickly.
There once was a time when a big win cured all complaints about the Eagles, at least until the next game.
But that’s not true anymore. As of Sunday night, that’s not true at all.
– Angelo Cataldi is a Metro sports columnist and host of 610 WIP’s Morning Show, which airs every morning from 5:30-10 a.m.
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