• Gabriel Donio

Eagles season begins by bringing plenty of hope


It was a pleasant surprise to watch the Eagles perform at a high level, with a gameplan that made sense. (Courtesy Photo)

Admit it. You didn’t think they’d do as well as they did this past Sunday.


Neither did I.


It was a pleasant surprise to watch the Eagles perform at a high level, with a gameplan that made sense and plays by Jalen Hurts, DeVonta Smith, Dallas Goedert and the defense that made you stand up and yell at the screen, but in a good way. That last part was a welcome change from last year.


It’s only one game.


Still, you know what they say about first impressions.


Now it’s stuck in the heads of everyone who wears Eagles green that we are going to have to pay more attention this season. Even if they don’t win more than they lose, it already looks like this year’s Birds will be worth watching.


Having been through all the ups and downs as an Eagles fan since the late 1970s (I even know who Marion Campbell was), I can tell you that some of the most fun seasons in football—and all of sports—are the ones where the team begins to build the foundation of the next era.


I watched it with Dick Vermeil.


I watched it with Marion Campbell (I’m kidding. And don’t hand me Fred Bruney. One game doesn’t count.)


I watched it with Buddy Ryan.


I watched it with Richie Kotite (Again, kidding.)


I watched it with Ray Rhodes.


I watched it with Andy Reid.


I watched it with Doug Pederson (Champs).


And now I’m watching it with Nick Sirianni.


Yeah, I know, Chip Kelly was our coach and one game was coached by Pat Shurmur after Kelly was let go. I just pretend that never happened, like Bobby Ewing in the shower in the TV show Dallas after his character was killed off in an earlier episode. If you don’t know what I’m referring to, go ask your parents. Or grandparents.


Sirianni impressed as he coached the team to a dominating 32-6 win. The creaking sound you heard throughout the Delaware Valley was the bandwagon straining from all the people jumping on it.


But hey, why not? After all, the team did look very good. Atlanta did not.


Other than more penalties than they should have, they looked sharp on both sides of the ball. The touchdown passes by Hurts to Smith and Goedert are exactly what the Eagles were looking for from their young quarterback. You can say what you want about Alabama football, but they know how to win—and their players know how to win as well. It’s a culture of success that appears to be translating well to the Eagles locker room—and the fan base isn’t waiting to jump in with both feet. You could feel it on Sunday afternoon already.


The fans and this team have such a bond. Families have watched the Eagles for generations, from Franklin Field to “The Vet” (Veterans Stadium to those who don’t already know) to Lincoln Financial Field. You’d think the loyalty had been earned through championship after championship, like it has been in Pittsburgh and New England. No. Only three trips to the Super Bowl, and only an NFL Championship in 1960 and a Super Bowl in 2018 in nearly 90 years of the franchise’s existence.


When the team won a Super Bowl in 2018, there was euphoria. Tattoos with the winning score (44-33) went on body parts. Eagles items were left on gravesites. Grown men and women wept openly.


And then, there was a messy public soap opera and the exit of Pederson as well as quarterbacks Nick Foles and Carson Wentz.


Now we have arrived at the beginning of the Nick Sirianni/Jalen Hurts/ DeVonta Smith era. It’s the latest version of the beginning of something fun for Eagles fans.


Welcome to the future. It looks pretty good to me.



Gabe Donio is the publisher of The Hammonton Gazette.