By Dave Spadaro
By now, you’ve probably figured out that there is something magical about the season the Philadelphia Eagles are having. They have jumped from a 7–9 team in 2016 to go 12–2 with two games remaining in the 2017 regular season, best in the NFL, and they’ve done it while absorbing an all-star list of season-ending injuries.
This is a team to love.
What happens in the playoffs starting the weekend of Jan. 13–14, well, we’ll find out when we get there. For now, with games at home against Oakland and Dallas, the Eagles need just one win to secure home-field advantage for the NFC playoffs. And it is a home-field advantage.
What’s happened this year with the Eagles and the fan base has gone beyond a 12–2 record. Something special is brewing on and off the field here. Road games are becoming home games with the huge Eagles fan base making its presence known at visiting stadiums. In California, it was all-Eagles, all the time, for two games. Eagles fans had a strong presence to open the season at Washington and then took over at New York. Thursday night in Carolina had strong rep, too. Dallas, as always, was an E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES! Fest.
After winning only one game on the road last year, the Eagles were 6–2 in 2017 away from Philadelphia.
“The fan base, the way they support this team, it’s incredible,” tight end Zach Ertz said. “And very much appreciated and recognized. We all hear it.”
At Lincoln Financial Field, the Eagles are 6–0, with five of the wins coming by double digits. The exception was the win that launched the season at warp speed in the right direction — the 27–24 thriller over the Giants won on a last-play, 61-yard field goal by Jake Elliott in Week 3, the home opener.
Since then, it’s been blowout city, with wins of 34–7 (over Arizona), 34–24 (Washington), 33–10 (San Francisco), 51–23 (Denver) and 31–3 (Chicago). Surely, it’s going to get a lot tougher moving forward as the Eagles finish the regular season against Oakland on Christmas night and then Dallas on Dec. 31.
And that’s where you come in. All of the noise and the energy and the intensity at Lincoln Financial Field comes from the fans. The environment there this season — not to slight other years, mind you — has been innnncrreeeedddiiibbbbbllllleeee. I’ve been on every NFL sideline over the years, and Lincoln Financial Field ranks among the most intimidating. The fans are in full throat, they know what’s going on in the game more than any stadium, and they looooveee this football team.
That much is very obvious. The Eagles are an extremely likable team with a head coach who has kept this team on course despite losing a starting left tackle, running back/return man, middle linebacker and, um, a quarterback. Doug Pederson has coached aggressively, intelligently and strategically impressively.
It all starts with Pederson and trickles down from him through a locker room that has been as unselfish as could be. A second-year coach and his second-year quarterback (Carson Wentz) ran off 10 wins in 12 games before Wentz went down with an injury and the second-string quarterback (Nick Foles) brought the Eagles from behind in the fourth quarter one week and then threw four touchdown passes the next week.
There has been a lot to like about this team, with a lot more season to go. In this season of Yuletide carols and holiday happiness, a little “E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES” is in order.