Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Separating Fact From Myth Regarding The Philadelphia Eagles

Since the start of free agency began, numerous things have been said about the Philadelphia Eagles. And why not? In one off-season, they managed to sign Jason Babin, Nnamdi Asomugha, Ronnie Brown, Vince Young, Cullen Jenkins, and Steve Smith (USC/NYG edition). In addition to that, they acquired Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie from Arizona in exchange for Kevin Kolb. In this day and age, it goes without say that this is going to get talked about a lot. From widely publicized newspapers to national TV shows to your nearby sports bar, people are talking about the Philadelphia Eagles. Now along with that, plenty of myths about the Eagles are being passed down as fact. Listed below are some of these myths, why people think they are facts, and why they are not facts.

Myth #1: The Philadelphia Eagles are becoming the Washington Redskins

Why People Think It Is A Fact: The Eagles signed big named free agents.

Why It Is Not A Fact: There are in fact several differences between what the Eagles have done this off-season and what the Redskins under Dan Snyder have traditionally done.

1. The Redskins overpay. The Eagles underpay.
2. The Redskins build through free agency, frequently trading away draft picks at a hilariously pathetic rate. The Eagles build through the draft, stock-piling draft picks at a hilariously frequent rate, and simply re-tooling the team and filling immediate needs through free agency.
3. The Redskins do everything they can to ensure guys they sign are well past their prime once their contract ends (ohai, Clinton Portis!). The Eagles do everything they can to ensure that once guys are well past their prime, they are off the team, often at the expense of anger and frustration of the vast majority of the fanbase (see Dawkins, Brian).
4. The Redskins front office is consistently in disarray. The Eagles front office is consistently stable.
5. The Redskins planning involves waving money to big names and hoping they grab it. There is evidence that suggests the Eagles have been planning for this free agency class since 2008.
6. The Redskins have consistently lost over the past decade. The Eagles have consistently won over the past decade.

Myth #2: The Philadelphia Eagles taking the easy way out by trying to "buy a championship."

Why People Think It Is A Fact: The Eagles signed a lot of big names in the off-season for a lot of money

Why It Is Not A Fact: NFL is not MLB. Unlike baseball where there is simply a team's budget and a luxury tax threshold, the NFL features a hard salary cap which features a cap floor ($108M) that teams must reach and a cap ceiling which teams can't get over ($120M), although if you get down and dirty in the CBA, you will uncover exceptions which for the sake of simplicity and not wanting to bury the point, I will not get into here. It is impossible to spend more than everyone and buy a championship when everyone is allocated the same amount of resources.

Another argument I have heard (yes, this argument was made without the slightest hint of irony, humor, or sarcasm) is the Eagles have given up on drafting and are now resorting to free agency to "buy a championship." The Eagles had 11 picks in 2011, 13 draft picks in 2010, 8 draft picks in 2009, 10 picks in 2008, and currently own 10 picks in the 2012 draft, although knowing the ways the Eagles wheel and deal, that will almost surely change. In fact, as they have been acquiring big names, the Eagles have done nothing but stockpile draft picks. The Cardinals threw a 2012 2nd rounder, and had initially traded Brodrick Bunkley for a 2012 5th round pick, but due to circumstances surrounding Bunkley, that deal fell through. The Eagles ultimately sent Bunkley to Denver for a late round 2013 draft pick.

Myth #3: 2011 is Super Bowl or bust for the Eagles.

Why People Think This Is A Fact: Spending money on a lot of players means you are going all in this year.

Why This Is Not Actually A Fact: The Eagles have structured their contracts in such a way that if they do not win the Super Bowl this year, they are easily able to re-tool and come back next season just as strong. In other words, the Eagles have put themselves in a position where success can be sustainable over the next several years. The "window" for the Eagles extends beyond this season.

Myth #4: The Philadelphia Eagles are now the NFL's version of the Miami Heat.

Why People Think This Is A Fact: Vince Young said the word "dream" immediately followed by the word "team."

Why It Is Not Actually A Fact: If you want to hate the Philadelphia Eagles like you hated the Miami Heat this past coming season, there is certainly nothing I can say that can stop you. But, I can provide context and people's personal feelings aside, the direct comparisons to the 2010-2011 Miami Heat are not really applicable.

As mentioned above, people are citing Vince Young's "dream team" comment as an example of arrogance similar to that of LeBron James and the Heat. And truthfully, if that's all he said, you might have a point. The Eagles being viewed upon as the NFL's Heat is not a matter of fan ignorance, but rather a matter of media framing and assassination. And really, when people see everywhere that Vince Young uttered the following sentence it is not hard to see where the hate comes from: "Dream Team. From Nnamdi [Asomugha] to [Dominique Rodgers-] Cromartie, to Jason [Babin] to myself. I know they are going to do some more things. . . . It's just beautiful to see where we're trying to go."

It goes without say that that sentence, that sentence that you have surely seen and heard over and over again multiple times, makes Vince Young seem like an arrogant prick, doesn't it? But context is everything. What you have not seen and what you therefore do not know is the context with which Vince Young said the above sentence. A context that changes everything. When directly asked what he thought of the Eagles' off-season moves thus far, Vince Young stated the following:
"Dream Team. From Nnamdi [Asomugha] to [Dominique Rodgers-]Cromartie, and from Jason [Babin] to myself, I know they're going to do some more things. It's beautiful to see where we're trying to go. I'm all for it. Whatever they ask me to do, to be scout team quarterback or quarterback learning, do whatever it is. I just want to be here to help and be a part of a team. I'm just happy to be a part of the Philadelphia Eagles."
In other words, the same sentence being used to categorize Young as arrogant and someone still "frustrating" to work with, is actually a quote that displays great humility on the part of Vince Young. It illustrates a guy who knows his place and is someone willing to do whatever he can to better the Eagles, even if that means being a back-up QB to Michael Vick.

Unlike the Miami Heat, there is nothing cocky and arrogant at all about these Eagles. Most of all, the Philadelphia Eagles did not do anything even remotely close to this

Don't believe me? Check out Nnamdi Asomugha's press conference for yourself.

Got anymore? Hit me up in the comments section!


  1. Myth: The Eagles will win this year's Super Bowl

    Reality: They won't.


  2. @ SSR: Hey, if asked "are the Eagles going to win the Super Bowl this year?," that would be my answer as well. Football (and sports in general) are too unpredictable to definitively say one team is going to win a championship before the season even starts. ;-)


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