TIRED: Winning a Super Bowl.
WIRED: Winning a Super Bowl by blowout and cementing yourself as one of the most dominant teams in NFL history.
I’m joking of course, as it’s never “tired” to win a Super Bowl, especially when you only have one to your credit. And I don’t really care how the Eagles beat the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 57, only that they do. If it requires them to crawl over broken glass to eke out a one-point victory, the euphoria will be just as full and robust as if they win by four touchdowns.
So as you read the rest of this story, please understand that I am not expecting the Birds to blow out the Chiefs in the Super Bowl, nor do I think it’s the only acceptable form of victory.
Get the trophy. Have the parade. Fly the flag. That’s all that matters.
But if we zoom out and greedily allow ourselves to gaze at the bigger picture, we can see the Eagles are on the precipice of something extraordinary. A big victory over Andy Reid, Patrick Mahomes and the rest of an outstanding Chiefs squad in two weeks would cement the 2022 Philadelphia Eagles as one of the NFL’s greatest teams of all-time.
Think about that.
Think about the greatest NFL teams ever assembled. The unbeaten 1972 Dolphins, the 1985 Bears juggernaut that went 15-2 and routed their way to a Super Bowl victory, the 1984 and ‘89 49ers, the 2007 Patriots (yes, the ones that lost their perfect season to Eli Manning), Washington in 1991, the ‘99 Rams, those Steelers teams of old, the ‘92 Cowboys, ‘98 Broncos.
The 2022 Eagles could join them, depending on the outcome of Super Bowl 57.
From the first week of the season until now, the Eagles were the NFL’s best team. They really have no holes. Their offense was relentless week-in and week-out, able to dominate the run game with their running backs or their QB or throw the ball all over the field to A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith and Dallas Goedert. They have the best offensive line in football, the best cornerback trio in football and a defensive line that made history this season.
The Eagles' defense led the NFL in sacks this season by 15, the most significant margin since the league officially began tracking team sacks in 1963 . . . Only the AFL’s Oakland Raiders in 1967 had a more comprehensive lead at the season’s end – pic.twitter.com/l99QX7nOsp— Bob Vetrone Jr. (@BoopStats) January 21, 2023
Their only hiccup came when Jalen Hurts, who probably should be the league’s MVP, missed two of the final three games of the season with a shoulder injury. They were 13-1 when Hurts went down for two games and had a three-game lead for the top spot in the conference with three to play. Philadelphia finished with a 14-3 record, the most wins in franchise history.
Had Hurts not gotten hurt, they almost certainly would have beaten the New Orleans Saints, and one would assume he would not have thrown two interceptions against the Cowboys on Christmas Eve. With their starting QB under center, this team very likely would have gone 16-1.
Now it’s fair to note that, in terms of regular season point differential, the Eagles’ +133 was below that of the 49ers (+173) and the Bills (+169). The Eagles had a few close wins during the regular season and their two losses under Gardner Minshew were not helpful, so if there’s a strike against this group, it’s that. But remember that despite their “easy” schedule, they played in the only division in football in which no team finished under .500 and have gone 9-1 against winning teams this year, a record few in history have been able to match.
"The Eagles had an easy schedule."— Reuben Frank (@RoobNBCS) January 30, 2023
Best records in NFL history vs. winning teams:
9-1 ... 1969 Vikings
9-1 ... 2007 Patriots
9-1 ... 2022 Eagles @Stathead
Their postseason run has also been among the best in NFL history thus far.
Nice.— schmenkman (@tgpschmenk) January 30, 2023
This includes the Super Bowl, for example #1 — 1989 49ers:
55 in 2 playoff games
45 in SB XXIV
100 total pic.twitter.com/PWDX83XspM
Thanks to their 38-7 win over the Giants and 31-7 win over the 49ers, the Eagles are currently +55 in point differential.
The @Eagles are the first team in NFL history to score 30+ points while allowing fewer than 10 in back-to-back postseason games.— OptaSTATS (@OptaSTATS) January 29, 2023
Excluding the 1940 Bears, who only played one postseason game and destroyed the Cardinals 73-0 in the NFL championship, every other team on this list played at least three playoff games in order to accumulate that point differential.
Eagles held both the 49ers and Giants to 7 or fewer points— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) January 30, 2023
First team in the playoffs to do that since Ravens 23 years ago pic.twitter.com/Ndaic3pxyr
Whoever wins the Super Bowl, history tells us it will likely be by more than a touchdown. In the 56 previous games, only 21 of them (37.5%) were decided by one score, including the Birds’ 8-point victory over the Patriots in Super Bowl 52. Thirty-one times (55.3%), the winning team won by 10 or more, and there have been 13 occasions (23.2%) where the victory was by three touchdowns or more.
If the Eagles can become the 14th team to do that latter, they will have authored a postseason run bettered by just three teams in playoff history: 1989 49ers, 1986 Giants, and the 1985 Bears. Again, we’ll hungrily devour any Super Bowl victory, be it by one point or 30, but my childhood is littered with memories of those blowouts.
Could we see another in two weeks? Maybe, but it’s not likely.
Even on a gimpy leg, Mahomes is still the best in the game, and Reid has cemented himself as a sure-fire, first ballot Hall of Famer. Kansas City has a solid pass rush of their own, speed all over the field and are young and hungry. Whoever wins, the margin of victory is likely to be within one score, and it’s just as likely the Eagles get blown out as they would blow out the Chiefs. That said, K.C.’s injury woes are attacking their receiving corps, Reid has not had the best record on the biggest stage and Mahomes’ high ankle sprain/lack of mobility could be a major issue against the Eagles’ pass rush.
At the end of the day, all that matters is the Birds win the dang game, something they are absolutely well-positioned to do.
Crown 'em?— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 29, 2023
The Eagles are the 5th team to win the Divisional Playoffs and Conference Championship by at least 21 points.
Each of the previous 4 teams won the Super Bowl. pic.twitter.com/JCcU4QqQPg
By 21 points or one, a Super Bowl victory makes the 2022 Eagles the greatest in franchise history.
And that’ll be enough.