Thursday, September 09, 2004

Special NFL Preview

Here's my attempt to provide links to the major articles (there's just too many to link to every one of them) in the area papers today. First off, Bob Brookover reports on the contract extension the Eagles offered to Andy Reid yesterday, as mentioned here yesterday. Les Bowen also reports on the extension, and reminds us that Reid's next win ties him with Dick Vermeil for career total with the Eagles, and that if the Eagles go at least 11-5 this year, he will become the franchise's all-time winningest coach. Les also includes Reid's attempts at self-deprecating humor, when he mentioned that, with the contract extension, 'he'll continue to look at himself under a microsocope. It's a pretty big microscope.' John Smallwood says the extension is well deserved, when you consider that Reid delivered the Eagles from the wasteland that was a 3-13 season to one of the most successful NFL teams in the league. Meanwhile, Jack McCaffery takes the opportunity to question this move and attempt to spread his negativity.

Phil Sheridan says Terrell Owens is one of the few free agents who actually wanted to come to Philly, and that he gets a chance to start here with a clean slate. Brookover's notes column includes T.O.'s response to a reporter's question of whether Donovan McNabb's completion percentage will increase with him in the lineup. Owens says not to get too caught up with the statistics, and to focus on what really matters, just winning. Rich Hofmann believes "Owens has everything to gain. McNabb has everything to lose," since, if the Eagles finally win the "big one," Owens will be seen as the missing piece. Bob Grotz writes that Owens "would like to pencil" the Eagles in the Super Bowl. He also says T.O. expects lots of yellow flags to be flying, at least early on in the season, as defenses and officials adjust to the new "points of emphasis."

Mark Eckel says don't look now, but the Eagles, particularly the defense, is actually healthy going into their season opener against the Giants. Bob Ford looks back at playoff misery past, and concludes that the Eagles "have been unable to survive in the one-and-done world where the better team doesn't always win." Brookover takes a look at the other teams and coaches who have failed in 3 straight tries at the conference championship, and how they did after getting that close (only John Madden's Oakland Raiders went on to win the Super Bowl). Speaking of Madden, Bill Fleischman has him giving Reid some advice: "The worst thing I could do is panic. I thought if we keep getting to the championship game, we're eventually going to win the damn thing." Paul Domowitch chats with a coach who experienced similiar futility, Marv Levy (of the infamous Buffalo Bills who reached the Super Bowl four straight years without coming away with a victory). Levy reminds Eagles fans to keep things in perspective: "It's much more difficult to maintain good depth today than it was then, which makes what the Eagles have done the last few years even more amazing."

Brookover blasphemously turns the Eagles into religion:
They came to Bethlehem (Pa.) to see the newly acquired receiver. The search for a savior was over. Hymn No. 81 - "T.O., T.O., T.O." - was performed on a daily basis as the green-clad congregation grew from 12,000 one day to 25,000 a few days later. The Eagles had themselves a big-play wide receiver, and the good word spread quickly. Praise be to coach Andy Reid and owner Jeffrey Lurie. Praise be to Terrell Owens.
He says that despite all that, No. 5 is still the difference maker on the team. Even Marc Narducci got into the NFL preview act (in addition to turning his Sixers beat writer assignment in), observing that the weekly injury report is the "true equalizer in the NFL," even "more so than free agency." Les Bowen gets Brian Dawkins, Hugh Douglas, and WIP host Anthony Gargano's thoughts on the Eagles faithful. He writes:
As a fandom, it's never a good thing when you have to start labeling your disappointments, to keep them straight: the St. Louis loss, the Tampa loss, the Carolina loss. It sounds a little too much like Red Sox Nation, which tends to label by villain or scapegoat: Bucky Dent, Bill Buckner...
Sam Donnellon talks with David Akers, and his thoughts on the crazy winds down at the Sports Complex. Akers also says if he could pick one kicker in the league to make a clutch kick, it would be New England's Adam Vinateri. Marc Narducci previews the much-maligned, feeling disrespected, offensive line of the Giants. Don Steinberg looks at the multiple delays being introduced into tonight's pre-game musical performances by both the NFL and ABC to prevent a repeat of Janet Jackson-gate. Performer Jessica Simpson will be wearing an "NFL approved" wardrobe (you can't make this stuff up).

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