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  • Writer's pictureThe Hammonton Gazette

The Eagles’ season ends with a resounding thud

courtesy photo

In the end, the better team won the Super Bowl.

I mean, making that holding call with minutes left was pretty suspect in my view.

But you have to play defense, and I didn’t see much from the Birds in the second half of the game.

The loss would have been tougher to take if the Eagles had not won it all five years ago. A lot of people I spoke with before the game said how this year felt different than 2018. They were right about the different part, especially when it came to the outcome of the game.

Of course, that’s not what they meant. There was a confidence about the fan base going into this game, a swagger. Longtime Eagles fans still had that uneasy feeling in the pits of their stomachs. When every commentator on FOX picked the Eagles, it certainly did not make me feel better. Did you?

I was writing this column as the Chiefs were accepting the Lombardi Trophy, the confetti raining down on Andy Reid as he praised his former organization by name before saying “How ‘bout those Chiefs.” He never won a Super Bowl when he coached the Eagles. Now he has coached the Chiefs to two of them, and the feeling here is that there may be more.

The Eagles should have a bright football future as well. Normally when your team goes 16-3 and scores 35 points in the Super Bowl, they come out on the winning end. Coach Nick Sirianni is a man of passion, as evidenced by his tears during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” before the biggest game of his life, a game he always visualized himself coaching in when he was younger. Jalen Hurts played so well this past Sunday, he would have been the Super Bowl MVP if the Eagles had won.

So there’s a lot to look forward to in the coming years. The problem is, there are only so many chances to reach a Super Bowl. An NFL team can’t afford to squander them, and unfortunately the Eagles squandered their chance at a championship when they did not counter the adjustments made by Reid and the Chiefs after halftime.

There were two Super Bowls for the Eagles. The first half, where they largely dominated offensively, and the second half, where the Chiefs largely dominated offensively. In the end the Birds defense failed to hold up its end, and it showed. The Eagles did not have a single sack all game long. That allowed Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes to show why he was named the league MVP.

I will say this for the game: it was one of the most entertaining Super Bowls I’ve ever watched from a football standpoint, and I have watched for decades. The back and forth from both teams—coupled with the fact that the hometown Eagles were in the game—made for a great night. I watched it all: commercials, the Rhianna halftime show, the pre-and postgame shows. I enjoyed a great spread of snacks courtesy of my wife Gina’s thoughtfulness. As few things other than sports can, people came together—my phone was filled with texts all night about the game. Most of them were from people I have known for 25 to 40 years—nearly all of them Eagles fans and all of them sports fans.

Even though the Eagles season ended with a resounding thud this past Sunday, it was still one of the finest seasons in their long history. We’ve all suffered through so many terrible losing seasons where the playoffs were just a rumor we heard somewhere. The goal is to win it all, and we came in second.

It’s not the best feeling. It’s disappointing. But as Eagles fans we are used to disappointment. Do I think we can win it all next year? I do.

That’s what different now, after finally winning the Super Bowl five years ago. We expect our Eagles to fly, to win.

We no longer consider losing to be the logical outcome for the Birds.

I’m already looking forward to next season. I know you are too.

Gabriel J. Donio is the publisher of The Hammonton Gazette.


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