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Women's World: Bye Week Survival Plan

Posted Nov 21, 2013

Welcome to Women's World. Brandyn Campbell is the founder, editor and writer of the Philly Sports Muse. Every Thursday, Campbell will offer a unique perspective as she shares her passion for the Eagles ...

Nine months of waiting for football season to arrive, followed by 11 straight weeks of the ups and downs that have marked the dawn of the Chip Kelly era in Eagles football. It’s what fall’s all about, but one time a season it comes to a screeching halt: The bye week.

In theory, getting an extra three hours back into your week should be a good thing. There’s never enough time to get everything done, right? The bye represents the only Sunday in 17 weeks where you can do extra chores, sleep longer, visit family - whatever your heart desires. But somehow, it never feels like a carefree addition of hours into your day. Instead, it feels like a desert, a long, dry stretch before once again quenching the thirst for more football. What’s a fan to do?

In fairness, we shouldn’t be selfish. Though it’s a short season compared to the other major sports, the bye week is a much needed period of rest for players. Football is a grueling game, and it offers an opportunity to rest their bodies and minds from the otherwise relentless season. Philadelphia has had to go 11 weeks without a rest, treating us to that many straight weeks of the game.

While the intense start to the season - three games in 11 days - and then the very long wait until the bye seemed to be very much to the Eagles’ disadvantage at the beginning of the season, Philadelphia has weathered the storm admirably. Perhaps if the Eagles were in a rough patch of their schedule and had been losing games left and right, the bye would be more welcome. If the team had been struggling, the bye would be a chance for everyone - players and coaches alike - to take a pause to rest, refocus and regroup. But this year, the week off comes at an incredibly exciting point in the season. On the heels of three straight wins, the defense is playing incredibly well and the offense is showing what it can do when firing on all cylinders. That blasted, awful 10-game home losing streak has ended. First place in the NFC East. Finally, it seems like both all aspects of the game have come together to show us what this Eagles squad can really do.

Like it or not, we’re all forced to take a pause from our Sunday routines this week. Eagles players, coaches and personnel probably welcome the brief respite. The fans don’t really need a break. In fact, we don’t even want one. Sure, some of us have intense tailgating schedules, but eating, drinking and cheering is fun. Who wants to take a pause from that?

We’ll find a way to deal. What that looks like will vary from fan to fan, from household to household. Your bye week coping strategy may look something like one of the following methods:

Keep It Going. While there is no Eagles football, there is still lots of football to watch. You still adhere to your game-watching traditions and settle in for a long day on the coach watching how other teams in the league fare. It's football season, baby, and nothing's gonna slow you down!

Denial. You’ve known all season that this week means no Eagles football, but you just can’t fully wrap your mind around this fact. You envy fans of other teams who play this Sunday. You stare at your television screen blankly, neither taking in other games nor moving forward with your usual game watching routine. In a word, you are lost, sad and withdrawn. Week 13 can’t come soon enough.

Walking Dead. You want to do something very badly to make use of this “free” Sunday, but just can't bring yourself to do anything. You just laze around and stare at a dark TV screen all day. Come Monday, you wonder where all of your time went.

Productivity City. The Bye Week is a fact of football season and you make the most of it. Cleaning, cooking, bill paying, Christmas shopping, and everything in between, you are a whirling dervish of activity. The team may be resting, but you are not. Gotta make this time count!

Whatever your coping strategy and however forced this break from Eagles football is for you, one thing is clear: It’s going to be an exciting stretch to the finish line.

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