So I received a call on Wednesday from a Cleveland radio station that wanted to do a preview on the Eagles, a six-minute interview scoping out the 2010 expectations. It's that time of the year. There aren't a lot of huge stories out there, so radio stations are filling time talking about the season ahead. And so for the vast majority of those six minutes, the questions about the Eagles came, and you might be surprised that very little football was actually discussed.
Instead, there were questions about how the receivers on the team have "dissed" Donovan McNabb, questions on whether Andy Reid has lost power in the structure of the front office, about the current Michael Vick situation (of course), and about the attitude of the fans as they consider what waits for the Eagles this season.
I understand the Vick question. It is a hot topic right now and it has been discussed at length in many circles (not here, of course, until the Eagles gather all the facts along with the NFL and decide to discuss the story). But why go there with the McNabb story, which was based largely on a taken-out-of-context headline that DeSean Jackson did for The Sporting News? Is Andy Reid's power base really a big story at this point with training camp four weeks away?
Not until the final minute of the interview was there any real conversation about the Eagles and how they look on paper. It was good to field questions from a national point of view, and to understand that such a view is shaped by stories that aren't necessarily true and by topics that aren't top of mind when thinking about 2010.
Maybe I'm wrong. I thought this team was all about football. It's fair to discuss the quarterback position all day and night, because Kevin Kolb's rise signifies a new generation at the most important spot on the field. Isn't this season about how well the Eagles have turned the roster over, and about how well they have strategized for the present and for years to come?
Furthermore, these kinds of questions make me wonder how the media will paint Jackson -- oh, and I fielded a question about his contract status, too -- from a national point of view. Jackson has done nothing but work hard and rise to stardom in two years in the NFL, but I see it coming. I see that every comment he makes and every moment in front of a microphone will be cataloged and talked about and debated.
See, I think the Eagles are one of the most fascinating teams in the league without creating false drama. The Eagles won 11 games last season and then one of the most active off-seasons in the league. Isn't that enough of a great storyline? They traded their franchise quarterback to a division rival. They re-made the defense. They made significant changes to the coaching staff.
The result is that the Eagles are one of the youngest teams in the league, with as much sizzle and promise as any team out there.
Toward the end of the interview, the fine hosts asked if the Eagles were a team that would "take a step back" or "contend" in the NFC East. I told him the Eagles should contend in the very tough division, that the offense has the tools to score a lot of points and the defense has to find itself quickly with all of the new faces.
Sound fair? Sounds like football to me. The drama, the made-up sideshows, I can do without. There have been enough seasons with the distractions of media-created hogwash. This team is about football and how the Eagles have rebuilt a roster in a short period of time. Are they ready to win a Super Bowl? That's all that matters to me.