Philadelphia Eagles Fans Have Reason To Lose Their Religion


Nov 22, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles fans stand on the roof of their vehicle while tailgating outside Lincoln Financial Field before action against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Eagles Fans Have Reason To Lose Their Religion

I’ve seen down, frustrated, and disappointed fans of the Philadelphia Eagles for many years. It’s been a very long time since we’ve hoisted the championship cup from the NFL, and that’s become a spot that the fans of other teams and the national media do not hesitate to point out. But it’s a fact, so it’s foolish to argue the point. Instead, the Philadelphia Eagles have taken on the role of “us against the world” underdogs, a team that fans of other teams love to hate and love to discount. That plays into our favor, you see. They don’t see us coming, and then when we win, it’s especially sweet feeling.

Don’t believe me? Just ask the New York Giants. We have bitten them not once, but twice. Perhaps the greatest single comeback in professional football came at their expense, the Miracle of the Meadowlands II

As much magic that worked in our favor on that glorious week 15 game, the cosmos turned completely against us in the game against the struggling Tampa Bay Buccaneers. At 4-5 but in a bad division, the Philadelphia Eagles fans had hope. Had. With the New York Giants on a bye week at 5-5, the Eagles could tie for the division lead if they could handle business at home. They knew Tampa Bay was a young team with a rookie quarterback, but the urgency was great. Win, and have a solid chance at a respectable season. Lose, even if by the thinnest of margins, and the hopes of the city for a post season appearance would be shaken.

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They were blown out instead, 45-17, at the hands of the 5-5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  After a short week, they went on the road to face the struggling Detroit Lions.  The result?  They were blown out 45-14.  Three winnable games.  Three embarrassing losses.  The team, once thought to compete for the division title, now appears in the worst cast scenario.  They have no starting quarterback next year.  The players they would like to retain have expiring contracts.  And they had already traded away their second round pick for the opportunity to pay $13 Million for 8 +games worth of services from Sam Bradford.

The future seems as bleak as the game played on Thanksgiving day.

In that moment when the final score resounded in the eyes, ears, and hearts of a fan-base that has loved this team through decades of trials and tribulations, the mirage of “we’re better than this” was removed, the curtain of “we can turn this season around with this game” was pierced. The religious unquestioned and blind support which the city has showered upon the team year after year after year was suddenly gone. Blind support gained vision. Philadelphia Eagles fans have reason to lose their religion.

In the lyrics of a pop song recorded and performed by R.E.M. some years ago, it talks about the struggle of doubt and questions seeping into a “don’t question” belief.  The fans of the Philadelphia Eagles are there now.

"“That’s me in the corner, That’s me in the spotlight losing my religion. Trying to keep up with you and I don’t know if I can do it. Oh no I’ve said too much, I haven’t said enough. I thought that I heard you laughing, I thought that I heard you sing, I think I thought I saw you try. Every whisper of every waking hour I’m Choosing my confessions, trying to keep an eye on you like a hurt lost and blinded fool, Oh no I’ve said too much, I set it up” – written by Bill Berry, Michael Stipe, Michael Mills, Peter Buck and as performed by R.E.M. “Losing My Religion”"

The team has no certain victories now. In fact, the team could lose the remaining games and end up back at that nightmare of 4-12. Possibilities and misfortune now walk hand in hand in the minds of each Philadelphia Eagles fan.  Fans exploded on twitter, and I found myself right there amongst them.   Fans I’ve followed for years who are the most hopeful, optimistic, silver lining in the storm cloud types were there.  Realistic, both feet on the ground, fans were there.  Something had finally united the Eagles fan base.

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  • In unison, we all agreed that this team is bad. But fans weren’t the only ones shocked. Former players were disappointed:

    It’s not just fans. But the media does love a good story, a controversial emotion filled story. Right now, the Philadelphia Eagles loss has handed the keys to the hearts of each and every fan over to the media.  In the next days or even weeks, we will witness the grieving process from fans, players, and coaches alike:  Shock and Denial, Anger, Depression and Detachment, Dialogue and Bargaining, and finally, Acceptance.

    You can follow Eagles fans commenting on Twitter.  Most have gotten past the shock and are deeply embedded in anger.  Some are detaching, tossing in the towel,  while some have already begun to bargain – asking for the return of Tim Tebow or to sign Colin Kaepernick.  But none have gotten to acceptance just yet. Not yet.  In the meantime, fans emotions will be picked apart by scavenger media who want to find the achilles heel, uncover the raw nerve, and then expose that weak spot to endless ridicule and analysis.

    But let’s draw the line in the sand here.   The question of Eagles’ fans loyalty can never be called into question.  The few players who actually understood this learned to feed off the fans energy:  of course Brian Dawkins comes to mind.  He understood Eagles fans as though he dined with us each evening:

    "“I played the game the way [the fans] would play it if they had a chance to strap on a uniform for one game. If for whatever reason, the Lord blessed them with the ability to go out and run, hit, jump, play fast, know the game plan, and they get to go out, one shot. You would not go out and be calm. You would not go out and hand the ball back to the ref. And that’s how I played every game. Because I loved it so much. And I didn’t care what anybody thought about it because I was blessed to play the game of football. And so I went out and played with emotion. I laughed, I cried, I danced, I partied after a sack, after a big hit, with my teammates. … All that stuff.” – Brian Dawkins"

    Other noteable Eagles players who fed off the fans include cornerback Eric Allen, linebacker Bill Bergey, wide receiver Harold Carmichael, running back LeSean McCoy, wide receiver Tommy McDonald, quarterback Donovan McNabb, running back Wilbert Montgomery, running back Brian Westbrook, offensive lineman Al Wistert, offensive lineman Jason Peters, and of course the minister of defense, Reggie White.

    Next: Could Eagles Actually Make Run For Colin Kaepernick?

    As long as we feel plugged into our team, we will grow irate, berate, boo, and voice our displeasure.  But come game day, we’ll fill the seats and cheer once more.  This is who we are, and who we will always be: a very passionate fan-base. Passionate fans demand passionate players. Passion. Raw emotional energy.  Brian Dawkins style.  That’s who these fans are, and who we will always be.

    But it’s not who these players are right now.  That’s why it’s hard for the fans to keep the faith.  That’s why Philadelphia Eagles Fans have reason to lose their religion.  They shouldn’t be the last ones believing in the team anymore.  Whether or not this team wins on Thanksgiving day, they’ve been left holding the bag once too often.  Philadelphia fans are demonized annually by national sports media.  They are ridiculed by other fan bases.  But don’t let the team or the players ridicule these loyal-to-a-fault fans.  We’ve been left defending a team which seems to have lost the competitive spirit.

    Passion.  Compete. Give all you are worth.

    Is that too much to ask?  Nowadays, it seems as though it is.