No illusions here, I realize what a 9-8 football team looks like. No support for a rose-colored vision come from the team stats recently published by the Eagles, either— we were pretty much middle of the road in all offensive and defensive categories when taken as a broad overview. Perhaps the one telling category where we really sucked was Turnover Ratio— we finished at -3. That is pretty bad. We also gave up too many chunk plays on defense. We were down near the bottom on that stat, too.
Well, that’s life on the ranch. Not every year is going to yield a great crop of livestock. What you don’t want is a continuing trend of mediocrity in the herd. We’re kinda living on the cusp of that trend. But what makes us credentialed Eagles fans is our appreciation of mediocrity compared to disaster. As MOR as we are right now, it still beats the utter futility of being totally out of the Super Bowl conversation, which we experienced for too long over too many lost seasons.
As it turns out, the Eagles will be getting their fair share of good press this week of Festivus Maximus.
Here are the 14 Eagles connections on both sides of the ball in Super Bowl LIV:
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
HC Andy Reid
Eagles Tenure: 1999-2012
Reid is the most successful coach in Eagles history. He led the Eagles to five NFC title games and a Super Bowl during his time in Philadelphia. Reid was fired in 2012 and ended up with the Chiefs a week later. He is seventh on the NFL’s all-time wins list and is the only member of that group to not have won a world championship as a head coach.
RB LeSean McCoy
Eagles Tenure: 2009-14
McCoy is the Eagles’ all-time leading rusher. He also owns franchise single-season records for rushing touchdowns and rushing yardage. He led the league in rushing touchdowns in 2011 and rushing yards in 2013. He was traded to the Buffalo Bills in 2015. He spent four seasons with Buffalo before being cut this offseason. He ended up reuniting with Reid in Kansas City this season. He hasn’t played since Week 15….but expect Reid to get him at least a ceremonial rep or two.
G Stefen Wisniewski
Eagles Tenure: 2016-18
Wisniewski was an on-and-off starter for the Eagles for three seasons. He served as the starting left guard in the Eagles’ Super Bowl LII win but was benched for Isaac Seumalo the next season. Wisniewski was cut and re-signed by the Eagles this offseason, but he failed to make the roster during training camp. He signed with the Chiefs during the season.
LS James Winchester
Eagles Tenure: 2013 offseason
Winchester competed for a roster spot during the 2013 offseason. His time in Philadelphia was short-lived. He eventually landed with the Chiefs and found a home in Kansas City.
DC Steve Spagnuolo
Eagles Tenure: 1999-2006 (as an assistant coach)
Spags was a disciple of the late Jim Johnson. During his tenure in Philadelphia, Spagnuolo coached defensive backs and linebackers. He was hired as the Giants defensive coordinator in 2007 and helped the team win a Super Bowl. He eventually landed a head-coaching gig with the then-St. Louis Rams. He had an awful tenure as a head coach and was eventually fired. Since his departure from the Rams, Spags has bounced around as a coordinator. He landed with the Chiefs this season and reunited with Reid.
Eagles Tenure: 1999 (as a running back)
Bieniemy finished his playing career in Philadelphia. Bieniemy played for Reid during his first season as Eagles coach. During that one-year stint, Bieniemy ran 12 times for 75 yards and a touchdown. Since retiring as a player, Bienemy has worked as an assistant at the NFL and college levels. He has been the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator since 2018.
STC Dave Toub
Eagles Tenure: 2001-03
Toub spent three seasons with the Eagles as a special teams quality control coach under Reid. The pair reunited in Kansas City in 2013. Toub earned the “assistant head coach” title in 2018.
QBC Mike Kafka
Eagles Tenure: 2010-11 (as a quarterback)
Kafka was a fourth-round pick of the Eagles in 2010. He lasted just two seasons as a backup quarterback for the Eagles. Following his Philadelphia tenure, Kafka bounced around the league and eventually retired in 2015. After one year as a graduate assistant at Northwestern, his alma mater, Kafka was reunited with Reid as an offensive assistant. He has been the Chiefs’ quarterback coach since 2018.
WRC Greg Lewis
Eagles Tenure: 2003-08 (as a wide receiver), 2016 (as a coach)
Lewis was a contributor during the Eagles’ Super Bowl appearance with Reid. As a starting wide receiver, he typically served as the No. 2 or No. 3 option on the outside for quarterback Donovan McNabb. He eventually left Philadelphia and finished his playing career after a two-year stint with the Minnesota Vikings. Lewis turned to coaching after his playing career. He spent the 2016 season with the Eagles as a wide receivers coach. After being fired in 2017, Lewis resurfaced in the same position with the Chiefs.
TEC Tom Melvin
Eagles Tenure: 1999-2012
Melvin has been with Reid since his first season as head coach in Philadelphia. While he initially started out as a quality control coach, Melvin taught the tight ends in Philadelphia from 2001-2012. He was the tight ends coach for Chad Lewis, L.J. Smith and Brent Celek. He joined Reid in Kansas City after his staff was fired in Philadelphia in 2013.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
RB Raheem Mostert
Eagles Tenure: 2015 offseason
Mostert started his career in Philadelphia. While he had an impressive preseason, Eagles coach Chip Kelly decided to move in a different direction during final cuts. Following his departure from the Eagles, Mostert bounced around the league, playing for six different teams before landing with the 49ers. He has since found a niche in the 49ers’ running back rotation. He scored four touchdowns during San Francisco’s NFC title win over the Green Bay Packers.
WR Jordan Matthews
Eagles Tenure(s): 2014-16, 2018, 2019
Matthews has had three separate stints with the Eagles. The 2014 second-round pick was a key member of the offense during Kelly’s final two years in Philadelphia. He was traded to the Bills with a third-round pick for cornerback Ronald Darby in 2017. He rejoined the squad in 2018 as an injury replacement, contributing as a rotational receiver. He signed with the 49ers in free agency but was cut in the middle of the season. The Eagles re-signed him with injuries piling up on the depth chart. He was cut after just two games and re-signed with the 49ers. He hasn’t played in a game since returning to San Francisco.
LS Kyle Nelson
Eagles Tenure: 2012 offseason
Nelson was Winchester before Winchester reached Philadelphia. Like Winchester after him, Nelson couldn’t beat out Jon Dorenbos.
ILBC DeMeco Ryans
Eagles Tenure: 2012-15 (as a linebacker)
Ryans was acquired by the Eagles in a 2012 trade. He served as a captain and leader on defense for four seasons. The middle linebacker was cut in 2016, and he retired after failing to find another opportunity. Ryans has served as the 49ers’ assistant coach since 2017.
OQCC Miles Austin
Eagles Tenure: 2015 (as a wide receiver)
Austin spent the final season of his playing career with the Eagles. After retiring from the game, Austin spent two seasons as a scouting intern with the Dallas Cowboys. This season, he was hired as an offensive quality control coach for the 49ers.
Oh yeah, Eagles center Jason Kelce’s brother, Travis, plays tight end for the Chiefs. Former Eagles tight end Brent Celek’s brother, Garrett, plays the same position for the 49ers but is currently on injured reserved.
So don’t worry, at some spiritual level the Eagles are represented in this weekend’s Super Bowl.