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Super Bowl 2014: What Can the Eagles Learn From the Seahawks?

Kevin C. Cox

Each year after the Super Bowl is over, the fans of the winning team get to relax and enjoy their team's championship parade. Meanwhille, 31 other teams in the NFL don't have that luxury. They're trying to play catch-up to the champions. And what better way to chase a championship than study what the current champions did in order to replicate their success?

In recent weeks leading up to Super Bowl XLVIII, various members of BGN asked the question "How far away are the Eagles from a Super Bowl?" and took the time searching for an answer. BGN user StoneColeKiller58 specifically looked at how the Eagles roster was constructed compared to the top four finalists. Dave Mangels found the Seahawks and Eagles to be similar in a number of ways, especially their management style.

Too often, it's tempting to take the most recent event and make a snap judgement. In previous years, it was all about finding that elite quarterback. This year, the Seahawks won the Super Bowl with defense, so people will say defense wins championships. One, then, could argue the Eagles need a top level defense to win a championship. While that would certainly help, it's not necessarily the case.

The truth is there's no secret formula to winning a Super Bowl, and that's what's great about the NFL. This isn't the NBA, for example, where it's more-so a matter of having the best players. In the NFL the parity is significant and there are so many variables in play. The way I see it, the best strategy towards building a championship winner is to take the simple advice of the following mantra: "Whatever you are, be a good one."

The Eagles don't need to revolutionize their identity. The Eagles will makes move to upgrade their defense this off-season. It won't be their only priority. Effective roster building won't be as simple as the Eagles focusing all of their resources on one side of the ball like that. With Chip Kelly as Philadelphia's head coach, this squad is always going to be offense orientated. That doesn't mean the defense has to be neglected, but it's hard to see them (or any NFL team, really) building a defense as great as the Seahawks. That's OK. The Eagles don't need to do that to win a championship. Having a top offense is still very valuable, despite what you may believe because of the Broncos failures in the Super Bowl.

Championships are won on the macroscopic level. The Eagles aren't just a safety (see: Jairus Byrd, TJ Ward, etc.) or a pass rusher away from winning a championship. Adding those pieces will certainly help, yes, but it's bigger than that. They key to success is about consistently making strong personnel moves: hitting big on draft picks, signing undervalued players in free agency without shelling out ridiculous contracts, finding a diamond in the rough here and there, etc. All of these things are mentioned in the posts by SCK58 and Mangels I referenced earlier in the post.

The key takeaway from the Seahawk's victory shouldn't be "defense wins championships." That's a matter of looking at the results instead of the process. The reason why the Seahawks defense earned it's reputation is because they have a strong front office and head coach in place. The Eagles seems to have the makings of that combination in Head Coach Chip Kelly and G eneral Manager Howie Roseman. It's an encouraging sign to see Kelly admit he's committed to a process rather than a results-orientated philosophy.

The process the Eagles used in the 2013 off-season yielded good regular season results. The Eagles signed undervalued, bargain contracts in free agency. When draft time came, they had a set methodology for identifying key prospects who could be developed by Kelly. Kelly took the pieces he was given and coached them up to their strengths. In order for the Eagles to make the jump to the next level, it's imperative they commit to this type of process. Deviating from the plan, like the Eagles did late in Reid's tenure when radical moves were made (big name coaching hires, high priced free agents), is what leads to failure. The Seahawks slowly but methodically built a championship roster using a proven process they relied upon. It sounds simple but it's not easy. It takes the right combination of luck, development, paitence, and commitment to pull it off. It worked for the Seahawks though, and in time, Philadelphia could experience the same type of success.

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