Ever since the Philadelphia Eagles introduced Nick Sirianni as the 24th head coach in franchise history, everyone paying attention has been promised two things, one indirectly and one directly. First, you were promised that you had a coach that cared, and so far, nothing has been done to contradict that statement. The second thing you were promised was competition.
Waking up on the morning after a 35-0 shellacking by the New England Patriots in a nationally televised primetime preseason game, how do you feel about that statement today? Do you feel like you wasted three hours of your life that you can’t get back? Did you go to the game? Did you feel like you wasted your money? Do you feel like Sirianni’s statements about competition were contradicted in a single preseason game?
If the answer to those questions is yes, no one would blame you. Let’s play devil’s advocate for a second though.
Seriously, did the Philadelphia Eagles contradict themselves with that performance?
Why does this matter, you ask? It’s simple. Week 2’s loss wasn’t just about Week 2’s loss. It was about those statements about being competitive. It’s also about the frustrations of an entire city.
It hasn’t even been a full 12 months since the Philadelphia Eagles laid down for the Washington Football Team. Come on. Whether you agree about whether or not that was the right way to handle things, that’s exactly what they did.
If the team intended to tank, that was fine. Just don’t lie about what you were doing. Nate Sudfeld needed some snaps? Really?
Fans of this team who are also fans of the other Philadelphia sports teams are in agony. Prior to the kickoff of the Eagles’ second preseason game, the Phillies closed the book on being on the wrong side of a series sweep by the Arizona Diamondbacks, the worst team in the National League from a wins and losses standpoint.
The 76ers secured home-court advantage in the Eastern Conference only to lose in the playoffs to the Atlanta Hawks in gut-wrenching fashion. We won’t even get into the Flyers, what was promised, and what actually happened. Yep, Eagles fans could have used a more competitive effort out of their team on August 19th.
There’s another side to this though. It’s just a preseason game. Here’s some truth serum. The fans who were in attendance, the fans that paid some rather expensive dollar amounts to watch this game in person won’t agree with this, but the fact of the matter doesn’t change.
There’s some gamesmanship and strategy in a coaching staff’s refusal to tip its hand in a game that ultimately won’t affect anything. The goal was to be vanilla. Philly succeeded in that goal hand over fist.
There’s a silver lining. The second-stringers got a chance to hone their skills versus the Patriots’ starters. That experience will serve them well during the regular season. You’ll see.
But again, no one will give you a hard time if you’re of the belief that it seems ridiculous for a head coach to preach competition, play ‘rock, paper, scissors’ and basketball with his players, and then, present a product like the one Birds fans saw versus New England. That isn’t going to fly in Philadelphia.
Again, it doesn’t matter. Teams would rather save their best stuff for the 17 regular-season games, but 35-0? Seriously? Even in a game that doesn’t count, that one will sting for a few more days.