Skol? **** ‘Em, Go Philly.

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Today would have been my grandfather’s 88th birthday. Like me, Richard Wilkins Sr. was a Philadelphia fan, four for four, and I often times look back on what that must have been like in his lifetime when judging what it’s like for me. I find it was probably frustrating. For whatever reason, we seem to keep passing our fandom down though.

Philadelphia sports were tough when my grandfather was young. It took 50 years for him to see the Phillies win a World Series, the only he’d see. The Eagles won three NFL titles, all by the time he was 30. The Sixers and Flyers added a few too. All told, Philadelphia won a title roughly every 8 years of his life.

Frankly, I’d take that ratio. I was a month old when the Sixers won in 1983, and I wouldn’t see another champion until the 2008 Phillies won. I’ve lived through four Phillies World Series, of which they won one. The Sixers have been in two NBA Finals, with the only win coming in my infancy. The Flyers have lost four Stanley Cup Finals in my life, winning none. The Eagles? This is NFC title game six. They have one win, and they lost the Super Bowl that year. Technically I’ve seen a title every 17 years. In reality? It’s been worse.

There is no tortured fanbase like the Eagles. It’s been 58 years since they won an NFL Championship. That was not a Super Bowl, as the Cowboys, Giants, Redskins, and other local fanbases let us know. The die-hares spend every August calling into WIP, predicting it will be their year. They watch as it never is. Neighboring cities like Baltimore, New York, Pittsburgh, Washington, and Boston get their day. Eagles fans are left with memories of Fog Bowl, Ronde Barber, Jake Delhomme, and even SpyGate.

Tonight as this game kicks off, I sort of know the drill- how can back-up Nick Foles beat the elite Vikings defense. How can this time be different for a blue-collar fanbase that gets picked on for their strong home field advantage. This should be the fifth time I watch the Eagles lose an NFC Championship game. Ask the media. Ask Vegas. Ask the Super Bowl ads with career scrub Case Keenum already in them.

But while we’re waiting for kick off, if you’re cheering for #Skol, and you’re not from Minnesota (or a long time fan), you can go **** yourself. It’s time for this Bird Gang to get it done.

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Three Things About the Eagles Win…

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From the Eagles twitter…

The Eagles are back in familiar territory for me as a fan- the NFC Title Game. Yet, despite the familiarity, and the negative memories of the past, I’m more happy than normal about this. This sixth NFC title game since I entered high school is satisfying because it wasn’t supposed to happen. I have three main thoughts about this one:

  1. So much for Atlanta’s second round bye– The Eagles had no chance. That’s what you heard all week. Some media types talked about how the sixth seeded Atlanta Falcons essentially had a “second round bye” in coming to the 13-3 Eagles place for this divisional round game. Someone must have forgot to tell that 13 win defense, which held Matt Ryan and Julio Jones to 10 points. Someone forgot to tell that offensive line, with it’s two All-Pros, and the running back tandem that ran well all year. This team won 13 games for a reason, but got no respect. They were the first top seed ever to be an underdog in Vegas in their first home playoff game, getting three points from the sixth seeded Falcons. For the record, they’re +3.5 right now for the NFC Championship game with the Vikings.
  2. This team is one game from the Super Bowl– When Carson Wentz went down, it would have been easy to give up on the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles. No team can lose an MVP Quarterback. This team has lost it’s kicker, an All-Pro tackle, their kick returner, their best linebacker, and plenty of other talent for stretches along the way this year. They are one game from the Super Bowl though, and two games from a championship, their first since 1960. They’re facing a team who is also on a back-up quarterback in this championship game. You have to start thinking about the Eagles as a potential championship team. You also have to stop making any excuses. The game is in Philadelphia, you only have to win it once. The opportunity has arrived.
  3. I had this team pegged for 7 to 9 wins before the season– I didn’t see this coming. I felt Carson Wentz would have a good year, but I didn’t see this team going from 7-9 the last two seasons to 13-3 and in the NFC Championship game, especially the way it’s went. This season is absolutely a successful one. For the first time since the Bush Administration, the Eagles won a playoff game. They found a franchise quarterback. Their defense stepped up. Their offense was balanced. I figured they’d win three games in division, split the non-division NFC games, win two or three times against the NFC West, and maybe win a game or two against the AFC West. In some ways , their schedule lucked out. In other ways, this team just impressed me. Doug and Howie did a good job building a winner, very quickly at that.

Now- beat #Skol.