NFL fans can be a fickle lot.
In some cities, fans pledge undying loyalty. In other cities, fans shift with the changing tides of win and loss.
Then there is Philadelphia.
The reputation of Philly fans precedes them. We will bleed green for our team – in the stands if necessary. Okay, we all know the Santa story. Yes, we booed Santa. In Philadelphia’s defense, there are other fight-or-die-for-my-team fans in other far-flung places like New England, New York and those strange costumed fans in Oakland.
Before we face-off against the undefeated Atlanta Falcons, we wanted to give Coach Andy Reid a piece of our mind…er, we would like to respectfully address coach about the State of the Eagles Season.
Dear Coach Reid,
Before you take our team onto the field to face the 6-0 Atlanta Falcons at The Linc next week, there are a few things, we the fans, want you to know.
Now, we understand that this is your 14th season here with our Birds, and you have endured much criticism and Monday and Tuesday morning postgame quarterbacking from the media and us.
So at the risk of sounding like just another gripe session or an aggravated pack of haters, we offer these constructive comments with respect for your record, with deference to your considerable time as an NFL coach and with our own version of tough Philadelphia brotherly city love.
First, run the ball. We don’t mean when all else fails. We don’t mean until the run isn’t working in the first quarter or the first half. We mean, in pointed Sandra Bullock Blind Side twang: Run the dang ball.
With one of the top-ranked running backs in the league who has broken Eagles team records for so long that he is now planning on breaking the touchdown dance record, we are mystified, irritated and censored-words stumped why we acquired LeSean McCoy for more money than most of us will ever see if we aren’t gonna use him. It’s like having a finely sculpted Nascar machine pitted against a VW bug but we never put our car on the track. McCoy is only a threat if we use him. Having him hang around around the field or on the sidelines does not scare anyone if you don’t pull the trigger and give him the ball.
So, again in love, we say: Run the dang ball, Andy.
Second, we still love Michael Vick. For now. (We reserve the right to change quarterbacks like Sex and the City girls change shoes.)
We would love him — and you — so much more, like tattoo-level love, if you would get him to do a few things, every game, all the time, no matter what. In this we do not think we are being unreasonable. For instance, could he please, please hold onto the ball? Like when he is diving into the end zone for the first six points of the game against the Steelers? We’re pretty sure Michael knows he is going to be hit and squeezed and every defensive linemen is going to try to get a big, fat hand wedged between MV7 and that ball. So, could you possibly get Vick to hold on and squeeze tight, as if it was the rest of his multi-million dollar contract? Because, in reality, it is.
And, we don’t want to pick on our prized rocket-like passer but would it be asking too much that he study his play options, know them so well that in the heat of the game, he reads the field instinctively, uses the milli-seconds he has to decide whether to throw or run or hand off to McCoy and makes all necessary adjustments in the time permitted, which is none? We understand. We don’t want to be impatient or unreasonable or ungrateful for everything you’ve done for us. However. Could the Eagles please stop leading the league in fumbles, flubs and bad plays of the week? Then, maybe, just maybe, we can lead in points, drives and wins.
Finally, while we could say much more about safety assignments and offensive line gaps, we will take just a minute more to address the defense. When the Eagles D-line shows up, they are game changers. They can hold back forceful offensive drives even against elite passers with names like Roethlisberger and Manning.
We are wild about our defense. But.
Sometimes we wonder in our own inimitable Philadelphia way: Where art thou, O Defense? Like in Arizona. Pick a play, any play. Where was the defense? Were they lost in the desert? Did they find a desert ranch and lingered too long? Whatever. Just be there big D. Every play, every day, every single yard-by-pushin’stuffin’tacklin’-yard of the way.
In closing, Coach, we would like to quote, well; we’d like to quote lots of winning coaches.
But we will throw just this one out there: Winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.
Get that, and maybe we can finally clear a spot on the mantle for the trophy named after the coach who lived by those words.