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Today, The Eagles Must Rise To The Moment

Posted Feb 4, 2018

MINNEAPOLIS – The moment has arrived for the Eagles to do something they have never accomplished. U.S. Bank Stadium is empty four hours before kickoff save those preparing for the game in stadium operations as well as the extraordinary media presentation ...

MINNEAPOLIS – The moment has arrived for the Eagles to do something they have never accomplished. U.S. Bank Stadium is empty four hours before kickoff save those preparing for the game in stadium operations as well as the extraordinary media presentation.

It is time for the Eagles to make history, to bring the Lombardi Trophy to Philadelphia.

We’ve had two weeks to discuss the Eagles-Patriots matchups and certainly by now you are tired of the talk. This game has been hashed over so many times, ground into teeny tiny fragments of sense, and the truth is that nothing that anyone said in the last two weeks means a darn thing.

The team that lives up to the moment wins today. It’s as simple as that. The Eagles are playing the NFL’s dynasty, a New England team trying to win its third Super Bowl in the last four seasons. They are playing a head coach, Bill Belichick, and a quarterback, Tom Brady, who are the living greatest in the game.

And that does not matter, either.

The Eagles are here to play the game they’ve played on the way to a 15-3 record this season. They are here to play physical football, to dominate at the line of scrimmage, and to win on the outside. They are here to making coaching adjustments that they have made all year, to counteract New England’s counter moves and to put this very talented roster in position to make plays.

The Eagles are going to have to win some man-on-man battles, no question about it. They’re going to have to walk into this stadium and get on the field and treat it like it’s any other ballgame this season.

Truthfully, I’ve run out of words to write. I ran out of questions for the players days ago, in the midst of the all-out media assault the players endured upon arrival in Minnesota. At some point, it just comes down to playing the game.

So here we are.

It’s been a fabulous journey to reach this point, hasn’t it? The locker room has forged a brotherhood unlike any I’ve seen in the course of a season. From the very first game, at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, the Eagles lost key players whom they figured would be stables of the season. Placekicker Caleb Sturgis hurt his hip in that game and never kicked again in 2017. Cornerback Ronald Darby mangled his ankle and missed eight games. A couple of weeks later running back/return man Darren Sproles was lost for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL and a broken arm.

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On and on it went, reaching its dangerous heights when star quarterback Carson Wentz suffered a knee injury on December 10 and missed the rest of the campaign.

Not once did the Eagles flinch. They’ve found an answer to every question, and they’ve regained their stride to leap every hurdle, and they’ve managed to find a way to win games as they’ve added stopgaps to the roster – Dannell Ellerbe/Najee Goode/Nigel Bradham instead of Jordan Hicks at middle linebacker, Kenjon Barner/Corey Clement replacing Sproles in the backfield and in the return game, Jake Elliott (who looks like a keeper, for sure) stepping in for Sturgis and, finally, Nick Foles, overcoming a few years of NFL hard times, playing the quarterback position beautifully in place of Wentz down the stretch and through the NFC postseason.

Tonight, then, the need is to find an answer. For every punch the Patriots throw (in the football sense), the Eagles must throw three. For every new concept New England’s offbeat offense shows, the Eagles defense must come back with a solution.

The Eagles have to play an “A” game to beat the champs, and they certainly have to do it for 60 full minutes. A 14-0 lead against New England means bupkis . The Eagles can’t relax for a moment against a quarterback and a head coach who found a way to come back and win last year’s Super Bowl after trailing 28-3. Nor can the Eagles panic should they encounter troubles, which they inevitably will against a team of this caliber.

This is a football team that won’t be intimidated by New England’s aura. There is respect, no question about it, but the Eagles aren’t going to be intimidated or in awe of any team.

What we know about the Eagles is that they are a very, very fine football team. They played a great, nearly perfect game to wipe out the Vikings in the NFC Championship Game. Another game like that and, well, it’s going to be awfully difficult to beat the Eagles.

There is nothing about the past that impacts this moment. This is the present, and this is the chance for the Eagles to make history, to win a Super Bowl, and to bring the glory to the fans around the world who love this team so much.

Sixty minutes. The Eagles must play their best game to win. And they are capable of doing so, of proving that Philadelphia is home to the best team in the National Football League.

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