If fan attendance at opening training camp practice is any indication, there doesn't seem to be a lot of excitement for the Philadelphia Eagles this season.
The team officially announced a total of 18,276 attendees for Sunday's practice session. That's roughly 25,000 less than the 43,000 figure the Eagles touted last year on Sunday, August 9.
A lot has changed with the Eagles since last year. The biggest change is obvious: Tim Tebow is no longer here. OK, just joking.
The real big change is that Chip Kelly, along with all the intrigue surrounding him, is gone. The Eagles were coming off two 10-win seasons heading into their 2015 campaign. They also had a crazy offseason filled with surprising trades and big free agent signings.
Things are different now. Doug Pederson may or may not turn out to be a good head coach, but he's hardly intriguing. The Eagles' starting quarterback in 2016 is virtually guaranteed to be gone after this season. Carson Wentz could feasibly spend the whole season as a game day inactive. Fans aren't dumb. They know this season isn't likely to end with a Super Bowl victory.
Then again, hype isn't everything. There was plenty of talk about the Eagles being championship contenders last offseason, and where did that get them? The Birds won a mere six games before Kelly ultimately got fired before the final week of the season.
I have a hard time believing Philadelphia will never not be an Eagles town. But it's clear the interest has currently waned a little.
Of course, it won't take long for the Eagles to get attention back if/when they do start winning. The team hopes Wentz is the guy who can lead them back to glory. Members of the 18,000+ who did attend practice made their interest in the future of the franchise clear. Wentz earned loud applause for good plays and had his name chanted after practice was over.
"We want Wentz"!
Eagles fans will have just one more opportunity to see their favorite team this summer. Philadelphia's second and final open practice is set for two weeks from now on Sunday, August 14 at 7:00 PM ET.