Philadelphia Eagles: Mean Green Machine

Somewhere the late Chuck Bednarik of the Philadelphia Eagles’ 1960 NFL Title Game champions in a victory over the Green Bay Packers on Vince Lombardi’s first and only championship game defeat in the National Football League is looking upon the 52nd World Championship Game with a wry grin. Ironically, Mr. Lombardi might have a fleering look as well because his titular title as professional football’s greatest coach was preserved thanks to tonight’s 41-33 victory by the Philadelphia Eagles over the New England Patriots.

The lore surrounding the Eagles’ 1960 team was that Bednarik purported to have told Packers FB Jim Taylor in a non-politically correct manner that he could get up now because the game is over after the final play in Philadelphia’s Franklin Field on NBC.  While many people would have been shocked to have imagined that the Mean Green Machine would take approximately six decades to become world champions once again, the franchise would have to endure the ebb and flow of being in the vicinity of a title but falling short. Heck, the Philadelphia Stars (part-time tenants of Franklin Field) of the United States Football League was the only outdoor professional team to win a championship for the municipality in 1984.

            Nonetheless, the Eagles versus Patriots championship became the best title game since the National Football League/American Football League merger due in part to the fact that both teams slugged it out like a heavyweight championship fight. There were numerous times in this contest where either team could have folded under the magnitude of needing to score on nearly every offensive possession.

Many observers believe the signature play of the game was made by Philadelphia during their two-minute drill when the Eagles used an exotic play from their playbook to score a touchdown on fourth and goal from the one when Trey Burton completed a touchdown pass to QB Nick Foles following a direct snap to RB Corey Clement and handoff leading to a 22-12 advantage following the PAT seconds before halftime. Head coach Doug Pederson apparently learned what other opponents save the New York Giants did not when it comes to staying aggressive against the tactician of Bill Belichick.

            Although the Patriots were down at the midpoint, the five-time champions were confident that they would have ample chances to win in the second half, and that fact was proven throughout. Aside from New England’s TE Rob Gronkowski, the remainder of the receiving corps is filled with a myriad of diminutive slyboots who does not often get credited for being the quality athletes that they are. QB Tom Brady managed to make completions time after time in open gaps in the zones of the Eagles’ defense when the pass rush faltered.

            In general, the mettlesome Philadelphia Eagles were able to overcome the perception that most of the nation along with the media did not believe in them and favored the Patriots under extreme pressure to win at all cost. This is why defensive end Chris Long’s objurgation of the media was merited because it seems as if some members have inadvertently become a part of the inner sanctum of the New England Patriots’ dynasty.

Nevertheless, the denouement of the 52nd World Championship of Professional Football culminated on a defensive play by the Eagles when Brandon Graham sacked Brady causing a fumble that was recovered by Derek Barnett, which led to a successful scoring drive and a 46-yard field goal by Jake Elliott leading to a 41-33 final. The manner in which the game was played to that point did not lead must fans to believe that a significant defensive play would forthcoming.

            During the postgame analysis, a well-respected analyst Mike Florio made an error in his promulgation that if all games were played in this hectic pace all season that there would never have been a slight decline in television ratings, but this just conjecture at its worst. Americans are more intelligent than this; we are fully capable of appreciating a defensive stalemate on occasion.

Sports fans were not in favor of the inferior play in some of the contests during the 2017 season with all of the ineffective play calling and underwhelming play overall where people felt that the outcome was already determined. Plus, tonight’s title game was an anomaly because the NFL’s two best teams were competing in the premier winner takes all format. Besides, if football fans were so enamored with passing the football up and down the field without punting, Arena Football would be all the rage these days. Selah

Super Bowl History Rankings

 

51.  Super Bowl XXIV (1990)

San Francisco 49ers 55, Denver Broncos 10

New Orleans, LA

 

50. Super Bowl XLVII (2014)

Seattle Seahawks 43, Denver Broncos 8

East Rutherford, NJ

 

49. Super Bowl XXVII (1993)

Dallas Cowboys 52, Buffalo Bills 17

Pasadena, CA

 

48. Super Bowl XXII (1988)

Washington 42, Denver Broncos 10

San Diego, CA

 

47. Super Bowl XX (1986)

Chicago Bears 46, New England Patriots 10

New Orleans, LA

 

46. Super Bowl XXIX (1995)

San Francisco 49ers 49, San Diego Chargers 26

Miami, FL

 

45. Super Bowl XIX (1985)

San Francisco 49ers 38, Miami Dolphins 16

Palo Alto, CA

 

44. Super Bowl XXXVII (2003)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 48, Oakland Raiders 21

San Diego, CA

 

43. Super Bowl XXXV (2001)

Baltimore Ravens 34, New York Giants 7

Tampa, FL

 

42. Super Bowl I* (1967)

Green Bay Packers 35, Kansas City Chiefs 10

Los Angeles, CA

 

41. Super Bowl VI (1972)

Dallas Cowboys 24, Miami Dolphins 3

New Orleans, LA

 

40. Super Bowl XVIII (1984)

Los Angeles Raiders 38, Washington 9

Tampa, FL

 

39. Super Bowl 50 (L) [2016]

Denver 24, Carolina Panthers 10

Santa Clara, CA

 

38. Super Bowl XXXI (1997)

Green Bay Packers 35, New England Patriots 21

New Orleans, LA

 

37. Super Bowl II (1968)

Green Bay Packers 33, Oakland Raiders 14

Miami, FL

 

36. Super Bowl IV (1970)

Kansas City Chiefs 23, Minnesota Vikings 7

New Orleans, LA

 

35. Super Bowl VIII (1974)

Miami Dolphins 24, Minnesota Vikings 7

Houston, TX

 

34. Super Bowl XI (1977)

Oakland Raiders 32, Minnesota Vikings 14

Pasadena, CA

 

33. Super Bowl XII (1978)

Dallas Cowboys 27, Denver Broncos 10

New Orleans, LA

 

32. Super Bowl XV (1981)

Oakland Raiders 27, Philadelphia Eagles 10

New Orleans, LA

 

31. Super Bowl XXI (1987)

New York Giants 39, Denver Broncos 20

Pasadena, CA

 

30. Super Bowl XXVI (1992)

Washington 37, Buffalo Bills 13

Minneapolis, MN

 

29. Super Bowl XXVIII (1994)

Dallas Cowboys 30, Buffalo Bills 13

Atlanta, GA

 

28. Super Bowl XLI (2007)

Indianapolis Colts 29, Chicago Bears 17

Miami, FL

 

27. Super Bowl XXXIII (1999)

Denver Broncos 34, Atlanta Falcons 19

            Miami, FL

 

26. Super Bowl XL (2006)

Pittsburgh Steelers 21, Seattle Seahawks 10

Detroit, MI

 

25. Super Bowl XIV (1980)

Pittsburgh Steelers 31, Los Angeles Rams 19

Pasadena, CA

 

24. Super Bowl XLIV (2010)

New Orleans Saints 31, Indianapolis Colts 17

Miami Gardens, FL

 

23. Super Bowl V (1971)

Baltimore Colts 16, Dallas Cowboys 13

            Miami, FL

 

22. Super Bowl VII (1973)

Miami Dolphins 14, Washington 7

Los Angeles, CA

 

21. Super Bowl XVII (1983)

Washington 27, Miami Dolphins 17

Pasadena, CA

 

20. Super Bowl XVI (1982)

San Francisco 49ers 26, Cincinnati Bengals 21

Pontiac, MI

 

19. Super Bowl XXIII (1989)

San Francisco 49ers 20, Cincinnati Bengals 16

Miami, FL

 

18. Super Bowl XXX (1996)

Dallas Cowboys 27, Pittsburgh Steelers 17

Tempe, AZ

 

17. Super Bowl XLV (2011)

Green Bay Packers 31, Pittsburgh Steelers 25

Arlington, TX

 

16. Super Bowl XXXII (1998)

Denver Broncos 31, Green Bay Packers 24

San Diego, CA

 

15. Super Bowl XXXIV (2000)

St. Louis Rams 23, Tennessee Titans 16

Atlanta, GA

 

14. Super Bowl III (1969)

New York Jets 16, Baltimore Colts 7

Miami, FL

 

13. Super Bowl IX (1975)

Pittsburgh Steelers 16, Minnesota Vikings 6

New Orleans, LA

 

12. Super Bowl XXV (1991)

New York Giants 20, Buffalo Bills 19

Tampa, FL

 

11. Super Bowl XXXVI (2002)

New England Patriots 20, St. Louis Rams 17

New Orleans, LA

 

10. Super Bowl XXXVIII (2004)

New England Patriots 32, Carolina Panthers 29

Houston, TX

 

9. Super Bowl XXXIX (2005)

New England Patriots 24, Philadelphia Eagles 21

Jacksonville, FL

 

8. Super Bowl XLIII (2009)

Pittsburgh Steelers 27, Arizona Cardinals 23

Tampa, FL

 

7. Super Bowl XLVII (2013)

Baltimore Ravens 34, San Francisco 49ers 31

New Orleans, LA

 

6. Super Bowl X (1976)

Pittsburgh Steelers 21, Dallas Cowboys 17

Miami, FL

 

5. Super Bowl XLII (2008)

New York Giants 17, New England Patriots 14

Glendale, AZ

 

4. Super Bowl XLVI (2012)

New York Giants 21, New England Patriots 17

Indianapolis, IN

 

3. Super Bowl XIII (1979)

Pittsburgh Steelers 35, Dallas Cowboys 31

            Miami, FL

 

2. Super Bowl XLIX (2015)

New England Patriots 28, Seattle Seahawks 24

Glendale, AZ

 

1. Super Bowl LI (2017)

            New England Patriots 34, Atlanta Falcons 28 [OT]

Houston, TX

 

 

 

 

 

 

Requiem to the Atlanta Falcons and Beyond

    The Atlanta Falcons’ 15-10 defeat at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles in conjunction with the debacle of Super Bowl LI and the Georgia Bulldogs loss to Alabama in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game have become immiscible in context of teams in this state collapsing when the crucible is at its hottest. These devastating defeats have become so problematic for this community that hordes of individuals throughout the nation have enjoyed making fleering cachinnations at Georgia’s expense.

            During the apex of the late Vince Lombardi’s career, he once uttered the axiomatic expression, “Either you are first or you are last. In our business, there is no second place.” This is not to say that Lombardi was somehow incapable of understanding that not every team can be champions, but he used these maxims as a source of motivation to remind his club that just making a good run at the end of a season is not sufficient in achieving success.

            Of course, the Falcons may have been placed behind the proverbial eight ball when Las Vegas decided to make Atlanta a slim favorite on the line in an endeavor to make wagering more balanced. Some experts felt that Philadelphia, a home underdog, was in position for a defeat when their young gun quarterback Carson Wentz suffered an unfortunate injury during the regular season. Yes, Nick Foles was a serviceable replacement with experience; Foles just was not the kind of force majeure that would cause people to bet the ranch.

            While the Atlanta Falcons may not have suffered the Super Bowl katzenjammer that is often prescribed to those suffering defeat in the World Championship of Professional Football, they were not capable of sustaining excellence with any consistency at all during the season. The offensive line was certainly offensive throughout the year with breakdowns that made Matt Ryan feel like a tiptoe burglar behind the line of scrimmage.

            As a result, some of Ryan’s passes were inaccurate partially due in part to the impending jailbreak that was in front of him. This had an adverse effect on the rushing attack because open holes were sometimes not forthcoming. Of course, Atlanta’s receiving corps did not always make the best accounting of themselves when the football arrived in their vicinity only to bounce off their hands like a brick wall resulting in costly interceptions as well.

            Defensively, the Falcons were improved with a few heavy hitters who were willing to cross the line on occasion attempting to intimidate receivers and ball carriers alike crossing their path. Atlanta did incur injuries like most teams in the National Football League, but the defensive unit needs to become a little more wild animal within the ranks to change perceptions of them henceforth as just being another “dome” team.  

            The Falcons struck gold with the completion of the colossus known as the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in design, function, and amenities. Fans are still waiting for them to “earn” their allegiance with dominance that is sustainable for an entire game and season. If so, this is when the Mercedes-Benz Stadium will become more of a home field advantage than football’s equivalent to a stately opera house.

Ohio State (Barely) Survives in Ann Arbor

  When you have two college football combatants competing in a rivalry that is as old as the hills, a lopsided victory on the field is unexpected regardless of rankings. Ohio State’s 31-20 win over Michigan was a testament to this tradition, which is substantiated by team statistics.

            Perhaps, the leading indicator was provided by time of possession. The Buckeyes finished the contest with a slim margin of 31:17 to the Wolverines’ 28:43. Ball control by either offensive unit was a myth.

            Essentially, separation of both teams was illustrated by the passing and rushing attacks. Michigan led the passing category 195 yards to OSU’s 124 with 17 completions out of 32 passing attempts. Conversely, Ohio State did manage a tactical advantage by rushing for 226 yards (48 attempts/4.7 yards per rush) to the Wolverines’ 100 (36 attempts/2.8 yards per rush).

            For OSU, the insipidness of their rushing attack under the guidance of quarterback J.T. Barrett IV, which he ran with conviction until an injury in the second half. Unfortunately, Michigan’s defense was not overly concerned about Barrett IV’s arm as much as his legs; the Wolverines were not forced to defend a balanced offense of the Bucks for most of the game.

            As the Buckeyes’ second-string quarter quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. entered the fray, his passing ability (along with Michigan’s coaching staff not having a long book on him) was a much needed intangible that propelled OSU to the win. Haskins Jr. completed six passes out of seven attempts for only 94 yards, but his throwing capabilities were efficacious in spreading the Wolverines’ defense enough to assist the running to a higher level of proficiency.

            Nevertheless, the Ohio State Buckeyes earned kudos for their diligence in victory but little else. OSU just does not appear to have the mastery necessary in 2017 to truly compete against the likes of Alabama, Miami, Clemson, Auburn, and Georgia. The Buckeyes cannot expect to gain ingress into the College Football Playoff after being outscored 86-40 in flagellations by both the Oklahoma Sooners and Iowa Hawkeyes.

            OSU could still find themselves in a decent bowl, though. Of course, a generous payday can only be reached if the Bucks manage to defeat the undefeated Wisconsin Badgers in next weekend’s Big Ten Championship Game. Hopefully, the Buckeyes will be prepared for action because they are not even close to being a juggernaut. For Michigan, redintegration may be a year or so away until Harbaugh can get the (experienced) materiel he needs.