The epic December 19 win over the Giants -- you know the one, so there is no reason to go through the details -- was named Best Game of the sports year in all sports, and deservedly so. It was a remarkable comeback by the Eagles, capped by DeSean Jackson's punt return on the final play of the game and we all lived that win for days and days and days.
Too many, as it turned out, for the rest of the season was an Eagles hangover. As Jackson and fellow wide receiver Jason Avant appeared on ESPN on Wednesday night to accept the award, it was a tease and a reminder and, well, for me, anyway, stirred the hunger to get back into action and get another win. Many wins. I don't like celebrating regular-season wins. I want to experience celebrating a Super Bowl win.
I sat in a meeting on Wednesday to discuss the next steps once the work stoppage is over. What comes next? What is the deal with training camp (team president Joe Banner went on the record on Wednesday saying the team is holding out hope to attend training camp at Lehigh University, so we'll see)? What about the preseason schedule? Season tickets? Single-game sales? All of those topics, and many more, are on the docket and being discussed every day. The plans are in place for when business opens again in 2011.
And so is the plan for football. I'm excited about it. The Eagles have a lot of decisions to make and they have improvements to add to the roster. They have the task of building a Super Bowl roster. Nothing else matters.
And sitting in that meeting, and, really, every day when I wake up and go to work, the thought of winning is consuming. It's intoxicating. It is what drives everyone to work 12 months a year at the NovaCare Complex. The singular goal is to win the Super Bowl.
So, for me (and I wonder what it is like for you), the idea that the Eagles haven't won a football game since December 19 is frustrating. I'm empty. As great as the victory was, it was a burst of excellence, and not the kind of sustained success a team needs to win the title.
Andy Reid's Eagles have been remarkably consistent over the years with nine playoff appearances and one trip to the Super Bowl. His success over that time is unrivaled in franchise history. It is nothing like, for example, the years during Buddy Ryan's coaching tenure. His Eagles teams had moments of greatness, games and even consecutive weeks when they looked like the best team in the league. Come playoff time, of course, Ryan's Eagles failed to win a game.
I remember taking a buddy of mine to an Eagles season-highlight filming in a Center City movie theatre one year, and we sat and watched as the crowd went wild celebrating the highlights of an Eagles win over the Giants in the regular season. My buddy turned to me and said with the sneer: "Let me know when you're celebrating the Super Bowl."
Giants fans can say that. So can Redskins fans. And Cowboys fans. That's what I'm waiting for. I want, we all want, to win the Super Bowl.
So the taste of victory is fading. Has faded. It's hard to believe that the Eagles haven't won a game since Jackson's punt return finished off the miraculous victory, one that in the end was a mirage. The 2010 Eagles weren't good enough to win the Super Bowl. Close, reasonably so, but not good enough. It was a playoff team, one that I believe established a foundation that sets this team up for another sustained run of high-level contention.
It was nice to gain some pub for the win over the Giants, and to feel the tingle one more time. But I'm over it. Let's move on and move up and get back to winning, get back to the feeling that next Sunday just can't come quickly enough because the Eagles will somehow, some way, find a way to win. I want that winning feeling back. That's what the 2011 season is all about for me.