When New Orleans Saints kicker Shayne Graham drilled a 32-yard field goal as time expired to help his team beat the Philadelphia Eagles 26-24 in the 2014 NFC wild-card playoff round at Lincoln Financial Field, the Saints weren't the only team to celebrate. They were also joined (in private) by the Seattle Seahawks. That's right: the 13 win, No. 1 seeded Seahawks.
But it wasn't just a case of schadenfreude on Seattle's behalf - it was out of respect. Fear, even. In fact, there was no team in the 2014 NFL Playoffs that the eventual Super Bowl Champions Seahawks wanted to avoid more than Chip Kelly's Eagles.
This much was indicated by former Seahawks safety/special teams ace Chris Maragos, who signed a contract with Philadelphia this offseason. Maragos also went on to say that, in no slight to Seattle, the chemistry on the Eagles is even better than what the Seahawks have. Check out the full interview of what Maragos had to say.
Going back to prior to your playoff run last year, when you looked at the landscape of the six NFC teams of who made the playoffs, was there one team or a couple teams that the Seawhawks really thought were going to be real challenging?
"The Eagles. The Eagles, for sure. That was the one team we didn't want to play. We were always talking in the locker room and we felt like, man, they're young, they're hungry, they're coming on strong with what they're doing... It was one of those deals where we were like that's a team that, you know, it's one of those trap teams that sneak up on you and do some great things. They're young, talented, aggressive, and one of the teams that we thought were really dangerous."
Even more so than the 49ers?
"Absolutely, because we knew them so well. We were looking at the Eagles going, man, this is new stuff. They're flying around, these guys are playing fast, they're putting up points, just a lot of energy going on around there. So that was one of the teams we didn't quite have a good handle on."
I think Earl Wolff had said at LeSean McCoy's basketball event that you had noted that the chemistry here or just how well the guys get along here was even better here than in it was on a championship team like Seattle.
Yeah, we had really good chemistry on the team in Seattle. I think guys across all position groups are even closer here. And I thought that was one of the things where, you know, I didn't know if it could get closer. But just seeing the way guys sacrifice for each other, the way they're open to hanging out with each other, talking, and being around each other... it's been really, really cool. It's been seamless for me coming into the locker room, just coming in and getting to know these guys and guys really care for each other.
Maragos' comments are very interesting. It's cool to think that an absolute juggernaut like the Seahawks were somewhat afraid of the first-year Chip Kelly Eagles, but then again it's not too hard to see why. After a 1-3 start, Philadelphia went 9-3 to finish the season and really played some of their best football down the stretch.
But alas, it never happened. The Eagles were barely edged out by the Saints and lost the chance to prove they could go the distance. Philadelphia will get a crack at the Super Bowl 48 Champions during the 2014 NFL regular season on December 7th at Lincoln Financial Field. Kelly's offense versus Seattle's defense is very intriguing on paper and I'm sure the real game will live up to hype. The only thing is... Seattle can't hope to avoid the Eagles this time around.