The Philadelphia Eagles will play in their third Super Bowl in franchise history against the New England Patriots in what is being called a rematch from 13 years ago.
After stringing together a run of winning seasons, the 2004 Eagles cleared the NFC Championship game hurdle and advanced to Super Bowl XXXIX. Wide receiver Terrell Owens returned to the field against doctor’s orders following surgery to repair a broken leg and torn ligament in his ankle. Owens’s return was kept a secret up until gametime, and the advantage seemed to shift to the Eagles.
However, it was all for naught as the Eagles lost 24-21 when a downfield pass with 17 seconds left intended for Freddie Mitchell was intercepted by Patriots safety Rodney Harrison. Karma came to bite Mitchell after all his talk about Harrison leading up to the game. What a surprise, Mitchell running his mouth and not backing it up.
But that was 13 years ago, and this is a different team, a different game plan, and more importantly, this is a very different and beatable Tom Brady. That brings us to the big question: should the Eagles seek vengeance for Super Bowl XXXIX? I’m going to straddle the fence here and go with yes and no.
I say yes for nothing more than the blatant disrespect towards the Eagles that was shown on the field thirteen years ago. In preparation for this piece, I watched Super Bowl XXXIX in its entirety twice, and every time I saw one of the Patriots flap their wings after they made a play my blood pressure rose a little bit more. And if you can watch that highlight reel without seeing red then I question your fandom.
I also say yes because the Eagles should want redemption and earn their first Super Bowl ring. Yes, they do have the dusty pre-merger rings, but let’s see them win while we’re alive.
But I say no mainly because this is a completely different team than 13 years ago. The team that played in Super Bowl XXXIX was littered with divas and this is a complete team who plays for each other. Donovan McNabb’s ghost should not be the ghost of the 2017 Eagles.
Confront the ghost and release it.
If it’s revenge the Eagles seek, it should be against the oddsmakers who keep labeling them underdogs; they only have to prove them wrong one more time this postseason.
There have been many analogies made about the adversity this team has faced this season, but my favorite is that the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles are David Spade’s car from “Tommy Boy.” It had a cardboard driver’s side door, duct tape and plastic for a window, and was ravaged by an angry deer but kept plugging.
This is an Eagles team who lost Darren Sproles as he was considering retiring after this year, their Hall of Fame left tackle Jason Peters, Pro Bowl middle linebacker Jordan Hicks, special teams staple Chris Maragos, kicker Caleb Sturgis, and their star quarterback Carson Wentz. And that’s about when the deer woke up in the backseat.
Despite this, the Eagles kept finding ways to win motivated by their underdog status. They kept fighting and earned the respect that never came with each new spread. Instead of focusing their ire on the Patriots, I would prefer they get angry with every single person that counted them out.
The revenge the Eagles seek is against everyone who doubted them during this run. And the best revenge is one more win.