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Eagles at Giants just got personal for me…

The last time these two teams met, a 61-yard field goal made by Jake Elliott as time expired gave the Philadelphia Eagles a 27-24 win over the New York Giants at Lincoln Financial Field.

It was the third of five straight losses to open the 2017 campaign for the Giants. It’s been all downhill since then for the GMEN with a perfect storm of injuries, locker room chaos and weird coaching decisions.

“Well, yeah,” said Giants running back Orleans Darkwa when asked if that game-winning 61-yard kick made by Elliott set the tone for each team’s season. “Obviously, it hasn’t been the season that we hoped for, but you don’t want to look back. At the end of the season, we’ll reflect on all that, but right now we’re focused on Philly this week and getting a win.”

“Yeah, it’s definitely two different paths since then,” Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said. “I think obviously now with (New York interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo) leading the team, I think guys are going to respond, they’re going to rally, which they should.”

Philadelphia will have to rally the rest of the way without starting quarterback Carson Wentz, whom they lost to a season-ending torn ACL last week. “It’s crazy,” Giants safety Landon Collins said when asked how much the Eagles offense is likely to change without Wentz running it.

Personally, I don’t think the base offense is going to change at all with Nick Foles at the helm—I just think it will be administered a bit more judiciously, to put it in political terms.

“I don’t think it’s going to change all that much for us because you’ve got to stop that run game,” Spagnuolo said. “It really didn’t matter who was handing it off. Now, I think Foles throws a really good football — that throw he made against the Rams to kind of clinch it, that was perfect.

“He obviously does a really good job getting ready to play a football game because they didn’t skip a beat when he went in there. Didn’t look like they limited with any checks or anything, so they’ve done a good job down there coaching them and he’s obviously a pro at what he does.”

The Giants are really banged up for this one, but I expect a tough effort from them as a group. This is a game the Eagles want to get up early on their opponent, that’s for sure. Don’t allow the Giants to hang around for too long, or their motivation to win one for Spags will only increase.

Some fuel for the fan rivalry fire which simmers between Eagles and Giants followers…

Earlier this week I politely called out Andy Furman, the long-time editor of UltimateNYG, for failing to post a recap of the Giants’ recent loss to Dallas. I theorized that Andy was so depressed over the current state of the Giants’ organization that he might have thrown in the towel on the 2017 season.

I was wrong about Andy’s giving up on his GMEN, but I was right about his state of depression. Here is his response:

  1. “I did not recap the Dallas game. Call it a strike of sorts. Burn out. Whatever. This season has s*cked the life out of all of us. I watched it until Dallas scored to make it 17-10, then I shut off the game because I knew the Giants were not coming back. Little did I know the score would end up 30-10. These games do not need to be overanalyzed. The Giants are playing with Cornerbacks and Wide Receivers who were wearing street clothes a week ago. So does it surprise you when Dez Bryant (who is having a lousy year) is able to break a tackle and run for a TD? Missed in the game was how tight the contest was until the middle of Q4. Then the floodgates opened, which is typical of how many games have gone for the Giants this season.”

But here’s the second part of his response which kinda threw me  because it revealed Andy’s inner animosity toward any kind of success the Eagles are currently having, a side of Andy I had not seen before:

2. “Carson Wentz’ season is over. We do not sit around wishing injury upon anyone in the NFL. But it happens. Tough luck. Hey, Plaxico Burress shot himself in the leg in 2008. 31 other teams benefited. That is just the way it works. There is no team I dislike more than the Eagles. Many of their fans are nasty human beings who frankly do not deserve a title. So bummer for Wentz, but good for Giants fans who I believe have pushed off the Eagles-Super-Bowl Day-of-Reckoning one more season. Can Nick Foles win a title here in 2017? I do not think so. Wentz is a budding Aaron Rodgers in terms of extending plays, running for first downs, and multiplying the effectiveness of his offense. Wentz’ loss is huge. The odds that Minnesota, Carolina, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Atlanta or an AFC team (in the Super Bowl trips) them up are very large.”

Ugh. I can’t believe Andy went there! I mean, football is football, right? Games are won or lost on the field, not in the stands or in armchairs at home or within internet chat forums. I had no idea Andy or any other hard-core Giants fan was holding on to such a vitriolic grudge against the Eagles’ possibly winning a Super Bowl. In ten years of writing this column and often comparing notes with Andy, the notion that Philadelphia must genetically be denied the Big One never came up!

I guess I just don’t get how a Giants fan can feel his or her life is somehow enhanced if the Eagles are denied a Super Bowl trophy in their lifetime. When the Giants won it all, I accepted that they were the better team those years and deserved to be there. In fact, I rooted for the Giants as representatives of the NFC East in all their Super Bowl appearances. If the Eagles go on to win it all, I expect the same respect from rival fans.

Of course the Eagles have some cranky fans, but so do the Giants, Cowboys and Redskins. Every city-state in the NFL seems to have their lunatic fringe, perhaps best characterized as a vocal minority. The vast majority of us watch the games to appreciate the actual sport and the drama of what is played out on the field. If your team plays better than our team, we say bully for you and good luck in the playoffs until we meet again.

I think it is an emotional mistake to believe that if my team can’t have it all, then your team can’t have it all either. Besides, we tend to forget the actual players of the game are first and foremost trying to win a Super Bowl for—wait for it—themselves.  The last thing on any rival player’s mind in the heat of competition is “I’ve got to make this play so the Eagles and their fans never get to experience a Lombardi Trophy.”

We could learn a lot from the players in how to conduct ourselves as rival fans. Next time a game ends, before you switch the channel, please observe the fraternal sportsmanship expressed on the field among rival players who for the previous three hours were in combat against each other. That’s the blueprint for healthy emotional conduct I like to think applies to our responsibility as fans to keep things real.

It’s a game. It’s a business, too—sports entertainment. To Andy and other angry Giants fans, and also to any Eagles fans who express similar negative wishes toward rival teams, the world will not end if and when the Eagles win a Super Bowl. Life, the game and the business will go on. And in a flash, a new season begins and we all start over again. That Super Bowl ring won’t guarantee a damn thing the following year.

With all that said, I feel just a little more interest in rooting for the Birds to whoop the Giants this Sunday. But again, it’s rooting for the individual players on the field—not rooting against angry Giants fans. Okay, maybe just a little!

(For the record, I have many years of practice at writing game re-caps of some of the most heartbreaking losses in Eagles history. I never dodged a tough loss. I also never wrote a single column begrudging a Giants’ Super Bowl win.  Those are the reasons I am criticizing Andy today. I think he’s better than that.)

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Welp, since it seems many Giants fans are now angry with me (although I thought it was a fairly reasonable and sportsmanlike view I presented), we may as well keep the GAME DAY thread here. I wouldn’t want to divert any of our Big Blue readers from taking a shot at me.

The regional TV broadcast of this game is quite sketchy. I will have to drive a few miles north into the Philly metro area to get it. Where I live in northern Maryland, I’m stuck with the Ravens-Browns game.

Date: Sunday, December 17, 2017

Time: 1:00 PM ET

Channel: FOX

Announcers: Thom Brennaman, Chris Spielman

Location: MetLife Stadium | East Rutherford, New Jersey

NFL Network replay: TBA

Radio: SportsRadio 94WIP | Full listings here

Online Streaming

NFL Sunday Ticket

NFL Game Pass

FOX Sports GO

Live Game Thread:

Ryan Lubrich’s Discord.com live-talk forum will be up and running for this one.

Here’s a link to his interesting new talk machine if you wish to give it a look:

https://discord.gg/tnCDCwj

As Ryan explains, it’s like a chat channel, primarily used by like-gamers who stream on Twitch, but he figured we might be able to use it for gameday chats. I have found it to be very functional and very entertaining. It took me a few minutes to get the hang of some of the whistles and bells, but after a short while I was zooming along with the other EYE guys and Bored members there talking Eagles football.

It even auto-refreshes on every comment!

 

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