PHILADELPHIA — Lincoln Financial Field has not shook like it did Sunday since the 2018 NFC Championship game against the Minnesota Vikings.
It had the combustible energy of a giant soda can kicked around for three hours. It was 5-0 for the Philadelphia Eagles. It was Meek Mill’s performance of “Dreams and Nightmares” before kick-off. It was the hated Dallas Cowboys who strutted on the visitors’ sidelines. It was the Philadelphia Phillies who made their way into the National League Championship Series. It was the city’s weekend-long sports party that left fans drunk with excitement — and in some cases just plain drunk.
It was all a 26-17 win that was capped by a scrum on the field that saw center Jason Kelce brought down and coach Nick Sirianni lost to a tirade of profanity.
“How about the eagles!” Sirianni screamed over and over as he made his way through the tunnel and into the dressing room, putting his own spin on Jimmy Johnson’s famous line.
Defensive standouts Fletcher Cox and Haason Reddick playfully counted to six on their fingers. Linebacker Shaun Bradley buckled in: “Man, f… that [Dallas] Star. Nobody’s worried about that.” In the locker room, Kodak Black’s “Walk” blared through the speakers while running back Miles Sanders and others happily hopped to the rhythm.
“It was the best atmosphere I’ve ever been in and it was a regular season game,” said wide receiver AJ Brown, enjoying being here.”
While the scene felt like a playoff win and the reaction was similarly euphoric, the party fizzled out pretty quickly and the team’s mindset was back on track even as the next week said goodbye.
“We celebrated this win because it’s a big win — especially a big division win,” Brown said. “But as soon as the music stopped, we started thinking about who we were going to play next week [the Pittsburgh Steelers]. We’re trying to move on. This team is hungry.”
That perhaps best describes the overall feel of the 2022 Eagles, the only undefeated team in the NFL. The squad is full of talented players who need to show that certain something. Guys like Sanders, cornerback James Bradberry and safety CJ Gardner-Johnson are all in contract years. One of the best receivers in the game, Brown was sent to Philly by the team that drafted him. Cox is trying to re-establish himself as a dominant player by his standards after a couple of poor seasons. He’s part of the 2017 championship core that includes Brandon Graham, Lane Johnson and Kelce as they try to aim for more hardware in the latter stages of their careers.
Then there’s 24-year-old quarterback Jalen Hurts, who wants to prove he’s the answer to a longtime franchise quarterback. His mad quest for improvement – for himself and the team – has set the tone internally.
“He’s the ultimate leader,” said left stacker Jordan Mailata. “It doesn’t matter who you are, he will hold you accountable.”
The 2017 Eagles team is the only one in city history to lift the Lombardi Trophy. This town knows how hard it is to catch this magic carpet. Exceptional talent and impeccable coaching aside, it takes tireless effort, a bit of luck and the energy of the 53 players in the dressing room just colliding.
Football is too unpredictable to tell what this team will be like three months from now, but some of the necessary ingredients are in place for this to be a special season – something the Sunday night crowd recognized.
“I look at the people in the dressing room – and that’s what amazes me and what I love about it the most – when I’m talking to the guys, clearing the crowd, I feel their energy, I feel their hunger, I feel their [lack of] Satisfaction,” Hurts said. “I feel it all. And a guy in my shoes, that’s what I love, because I know I’ve got guys around me that’s gonna walk, I’ve got guys around me that’s gonna walk, never mind. And they know that we have to do this together.
“We built that mentality, we built that feeling of not being satisfied. … It’s a journey, and we embrace that journey head on.”
https://www.espn.com/blog/philadelphia-eagles/post/_/id/33214/philly-is-lit-undefeated-eagles-showing-all-the-signs-of-a-super-bowl-contender Philadelphia Eagles showing all the signs of Super Bowl contenders – Philadelphia Eagles Blog