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The Eagles are a bad product

Brand loyalty should run both ways

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles, like every sports team, are a product, not much different from products and brands we use on a daily basis. There’s just a different kind of deep rooted emotional connection we have with them. We may not think of it that way, but we behave that way.

For example, last week I bought a new pair of shoes. I needed a new set, and because I was very happy with the brand I had bought my last two sets from, I bought another from them. I also need a new saute pan, but because the last one I had sucked, along with the rest of the set, I’m going to buy a different type. We make similar decisions every day. They extend to sports, though rather than switching brands we wait the bad model out and wait for the updated version.

When a team is terrible, we barely invest anything in it. We don’t go to games, or if we do it’s because tickets are cheap. We’re more likely to buy merchandise if the team is good than if it stinks. You make it a point to watch a team that is playing well, and don’t care if you miss a game for a bad team. When it’s good, we sell out games, buy merchandise, watch games in droves. Like the products we buy, when things are going well the people charge can see it by how we react to their product, and they can see how we react to when things are going poorly. Some have noted that if it wasn’t for coronavirus, perhaps a sold out stadium reacting negatively to the 2020 Eagles would have resulted in a full house cleaning rather than just a coaching change. Perhaps, perhaps not, but it’s a point worth considering. But all we got is a coaching change.

Right now the Eagles are a bad product that isn’t worth your time or energy. The franchise is a mess from from top to bottom, and there is no reason to think it will suddenly change.

Consider:

  • The roster is bad and old. The only part of the offense you can feel better about now than at the start of the season is offensive line, and that is entirely because the bevy of injuries suffered forced everyone on the roster to play, so we got some idea of what they’re capable of. And even then, there’s still what to do with Andre Dillard, who was lousy in 2019 and the team was ready to give up on before getting injured. Meanwhile the team still has no answers at wide receiver. And the team justifiably benched their quarterback, and his backup. More on that later. The defense was the bright spot of the team, but the overachieving coordinator is gone and nearly every position is either manned by a player who will be 30+ in 2021 or is up for grabs. For a team that entered the year with supposed Super Bowl aspirations, there are few players who you can comfortably say will have a role on the team two years from now.
  • The bad and old roster is also ridiculously expensive. Only the Saints have more committed to the salary cap for next year, but they’re playing this weekend. When the Eagles get done shedding dead weight from the roster, they’ll still be over $20 million over the cap. They have to be a rebuilding team in 2021 because they have no other choice.
  • The quarterback situation is a nightmare. The starting QB was one of the worst, and arguably THE worst, in the league and seemingly feels that he shouldn’t have any competition for his job and repeatedly turned down opportunities to refute reports that he would ask for a trade. His backup played better in spurts, but was also deservedly benched in the season finale where he went 7 for 20, and somehow was upset about it. Potentially adding fuel to the dumpster fire is that the rumor mill’s leading candidate to replace Doug Pederson is the backup’s college coach.
  • The general manager who oversaw three straight drafts that were bad in both real time and in hindsight, and who had a mediocre at best track record prior to that, is not only allowed to stay on but was shielded from criticism by the owner.
  • The owner has his head up his ass. He said the coach he fired didn’t deserve to be fired, which is some incredible double-speak. When asked about the performance of the general manager, he offered nothing but excuses. Doug Pederson was fired in part because he wanted internal solutions to fill the offensive and defensive coordinator positions. That was a defensible reason to part with Pederson, but then Lurie says he is looking to the existing front office to fix the problems that they created, which is as detached from reality as an owner can get. If Howie Roseman was also fired, you could sell that. Fans understand a house cleaning, and Lurie doesn’t even have to look far to see how that can revitalize a franchise, as the Sixers and Flyers made significant changes to their setup that have revitalized those franchises and the Phillies also made a major front office move.

What about the Eagles as a franchise can you feel good about for 2021?

Here’s another way to look at this. Lots of people move to other cities and adopt a local team as their second favorite. It’s natural. You want to go the rest of your life never going to a game in a sport you like because you don’t root for the team? Of course not. Let’s say you moved to the Philadelphia area. If you like basketball, the Sixers look fun when the NBA isn’t making them play with a 7 man roster, and they overhauled management of the team with top people (including Daryl Morey). You’d watch their games. If you’re a hockey fan, the Flyers are a good team with promise and a potential star goalie, and are run competently. You’d give them attention. The Phillies just hired an executive who has had success at every team he’s worked at and the team isn’t bad. You’d go to some games when it’s safe to do so. But if you’re a football fan? Why would you invest any of your time or caring into the Eagles? They’re headed in the wrong direction and the owner gave no indication that he recognizes the rot that has set in. No one moving to Houston this month is picking up the Texans.

Now, I’m not saying you should cease being a fan of the Eagles. But if in this upcoming season fans are still not allowed at games, well, that’s not something we should be too upset by. This franchise is currently not a product worth your time, energy, and money.