That was the game I needed to see. Bouncing back from their first loss, the Eagles had their best game of the season against one of the top teams in the NFL. The 2023 Eagles are legit. A few things stood out to me in this glorious victory.
AJ Brown is the team’s (and maybe the league’s) MVP. He reminds me of 2004 Terrell Owens, just dominating. He looks like a man playing among boys out there. On Sunday night Brown notched his fifth game in a row with at least 125 receiving yards. That’s only happened twice in the history of the NFL. He joins the great Calvin Johnson and...Pat Studstill?
Sean Desai is a quality coach and the defense is really good. With backups playing all over the secondary, the Eagles held the NFL’s number one offense to ten points. They had four sacks, an interception, and they stuffed the run all night. They held the mighty Dolphins offense to 244 total yards. The defense has played really well for most of the season and they seem to be getting better.
I loved seeing the kelly green out there. I forgot how great those helmets were and it was great to see some of the old numbers come back to life. Every time I saw Nicholas Morrow on-screen wearing #41 I’d think I was seeing Keith Byars and have flashbacks of the ‘80s and ‘90s. It was very cool. I hope they do this every year. It was fun to watch a great defense in those old uniforms again. The Eagles identity back then was all about the defense. In 1992 the “Gang Green” defense had a famous goal line stand where they stopped the Cardinals seven times in a row.*
Getting a crucial yard can be very difficult in the NFL. The last year the Eagles wore this version of the kelly green (1995), they had a huge game in December at home versus Dallas. The game is famous because Dallas went for it (twice) on 4th and 1 at their own 30 with two minutes to play in a tie game. The Eagles stuffed them both times and ended up winning the game. When I searched for a video of the play this is what came up:
4th and 1 is a high stakes play and it’s considered especially dumb for a coach to try it late in a close game in your own territory. If you don’t convert you could be labeled as an idiot throughout the rest of time. The safe, smart play is to punt. But what if you had an automatic way to gain a yard?
The Brotherly Shove is automatic. On Sunday night, late in the 4th quarter of a one score game, the Eagles faced a 4th and 1 at their own 26. Sirianni sent the punt unit out then called time out and sent the offense back out. The crowd was relieved. They knew what play was coming and they knew it’d be successful. Money in the bank. It’s just a formality and of course they converted. 4th and 1 is not a risky play for the Eagles. The more times they run it in a game, the easier it seems to get. The first time they run it every week the defense looks hyped because they think they’re about to be the first team to stop the unstoppable play and make them think twice about trying it again. The Eagles ran over the Dolphins the first time and then had to do it again right away because of a bad call. Twice in a row the Dolphins got steamrolled. From then on they seemed resigned to their fate on every 4th and 1.
No play in sports has a 100% success rate, but some come close. In 2014 NFL kickers hit 99.3% of their extra point attempts. The NFL worried that people weren’t watching extra points anymore so they moved the kick back a few yards and now they only hit 94.6%. Still pretty automatic but we’ve seen kickers miss at crucial points in the game so it’s still worth watching. The Brotherly Shove has the same success rate as an extra point. What a weapon! I love the play and I love that we have it in our arsenal. The only thing I don’t like about it is that the announcers make such a big deal every time they run it and it’s such a boring conversation at this point.
On Sunday night Mike Tirico referred to the Brotherly Shove as “the B.S.” He talked about the injury concerns and how that could be thing that makes the play illegal. Hogwash. I’ve seen the Eagles run that play 61 times and I’ve never seen a player on either team get injured. In the third quarter two Dolphins had a scary collision on a crossing route. Does that mean they should outlaw crossing routes?
The reason the play works so well for the Eagles and no other team is because of their personnel and coaches. You can’t penalize a team for utilizing the talent they have. Should the NBA outlaw three pointers because the Warriors are too good at making them? The Eagles have become great at something. Better than any other team in the league. They shouldn’t be punished for that. That would be like punishing Benjamin Franklin for being too smart. Or telling Picasso he can’t paint anymore because he’s just too good at it. The NFL needs to let the geniuses and artists do what makes them great. Yes, it gives us an advantage, but it’s a fair advantage. Long live the Brotherly Shove.
Finally, the kelly green got me wondering what would happen if this Eagles team ran the Brotherly Shove against the 1992 Eagles. Can somebody run a Madden simulation?
Should the NFL ban the Brotherly Shove?
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