The Philadelphia Eagles could be the NFL’s next dynasty

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

After an improbable Super Bowl win over the New England Patriots, the Philadelphia Eagles look poised to be back on that stage for many years to come.

Over the past 16 or so years, one team has stood above the rest as the pinnacle of the NFL. That team has been the New England Patriots. While despised by so many, you can’t argue the fact that all they have done has won in the Tom Brady and Bill Belichick era.

New England has made the postseason in every year with Brady under center except for 2002 and 2008, and in 2008, Brady missed that season with a torn ACL. In that same time frame, they have been to eight Super Bowls, winning five of them. They have laid the blueprint for how to have lasting success in the NFL, and while many teams have had spurts of success, no one has had the sustained success that the Patriots have had.

Nobody expected New England back in 2001 to become the powerhouse they became, especially after having to turn to a little known, unathletic, backup quarterback from Michigan. The Patriots dynasty got its start from an improbable playoff run, capped off by beating a team that was seen as an unstoppable force in the Super Bowl.

When New England won their first Super Bowl in 2002 over the then St. Louis Rams, it showed to be a transition of power from one NFL powerhouse to the next. The Rams had been the most explosive offensive team in the NFL during the late 1990’s and early 2000’s and “The Greatest Show on Turf” looked like a dynasty, until losing to New England in Super Bowl 36. That game was a handing off of the baton to the league’s next dynasty.

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New England has carried that baton ever since then, and many teams have tried to take that from them but failed to become a threat for a long time.  A perfect example of this is the Seattle Seahawks, a team who looked primed to be the league’s next dynasty until a terrible play call prevented them from winning back-to-back Super Bowls. They have not been back since.

But in this year’s Super Bowl, could the Philadelphia Eagles win be the passing of the torch from one dynasty to the next? I am not saying this is the end of the New England dynasty as we know it, but could the Eagles be primed to be a threat at the Super Bowl every year? And once Belichick and Brady do move on, could Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz take over as the next coach and quarterback duo that reigns over this league for the next decade or so?

In this league one thing is certain; success is never guaranteed year-after-year. We saw just how difficult it is to win a Super Bowl, and that just goes to show how tough it is to do that year after year. That is why so many teams that seem poised to be the next Patriots fall off after a few years of success.

The first two pieces a team needs for long-term success are, of course, a great head coach and a great quarterback. Philadelphia has a great head coach in Pederson; and if you somehow still question his abilities at head coach, just look at what he did after losing his MVP caliber quarterback.

Wentz looks like he could be a great quarterback, and when paired with Pederson, could be the face of a very successful franchise for a very long time. Obviously, you never know how his knee will hold up, but if he can remain healthy for much of his career, Wentz will be a great quarterback.

Obviously, no one knows how Wentz would have faired in the playoffs, but we do know he has all the tools to succeed and showed a terrific body of work in 2017. Nick Foles was fantastic in the playoffs, but Wentz is the Eagles starter, but having Foles gives the Eagles one of the best quarterback situations in the league and if Foles does stay, he is the best insurance policy in the NFL.

As many have pointed to already, this team is built to last. They have the perfect combination of young up and comers and veterans, and when those veterans do inevitably move on, the Eagles have the guys to fill those roles.

On offense, the Eagles, of course, have Wentz and Foles but also have so many guys locked up for a long time.

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Up front, Lane Johnson, Brandon Brooks, and Jason Kelce are locked up for at least the next three years. Stefen Wisniewski solidified the left guard spot and is locked up for at least two more years, and Jason Peters looks like he is coming back for one last rodeo, and after that Halapoulivaati Vaitai looks primed to be the future at tackle after having a terrific postseason. While the offensive line is in great shape for years to come, the Eagles will continue to draft and develop young linemen to be ready when their times may come.

Odds are LeGarrette Blount will not be back, but Jay Ajayi and Corey Clement are both young and if they have another good year in 2018, then the Eagles can lock up Ajayi and have him and Clement in the backfield for years to come.

Zach Ertz is young and locked up for a long time and same with Alshon Jeffery, and the Eagles will definitely look to extend Nelson Agholor this offseason. What happens with Torrey Smith and Trey Burton remain to be seen, but even if they are not back in Philadelphia, the Eagles are in great shape with young pass-catchers in Mack Hollins and Shelton Gibson.

On the other side of the ball, the Eagles are also in as good if not even better shape with what they have going forward on the defensive side of the ball.

The Eagles strength was in their defensive front four, and especially in how deep they could go. Fletcher Cox, Timmy Jernigan, and Vinny Curry are all locked up for a while, and Brandon Graham is sure to sign an extension in the near future. Add in Derek Barnett being poised to be the league’s next great defensive end and you can see why this defensive line will continue to be very scary for a very long time.

Linebacker is really the only spot where the Eagles are not so set as of right now, but that could change very quickly. Jordan Hicks is still young and if he remains healthy (big if) and signed to an extension, he can be a staple at middle linebacker. Mychal Kendricks had a huge bounce-back year, and if the Eagles can re-sign Nigel Bradham, then the linebackers can be set for at least 2018. But depth is a question there and is something the Eagles will address in the draft.

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The Eagles’ secondary screams of young potential. Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod anchor the back end at safety, but the cornerback position is where there is the most excitement. Jalen Mills, Ronald Darby, Sidney Jones, and Rasul Douglas have the potential to make the Eagles’ secondary one of the best in the league for a very long time.

When you look at all of those pieces, especially the young ones, it becomes obvious why the Eagles have the potential to be very dangerous for a long time. But, of course, there is never a guarantee how long these guys will be contributors in Philadelphia.

But at the end of the day, amidst the roster turnover year after year, true dynasties always have three constants. Great quarterback, great coach, and a great general manager. The Eagles have all three of them. Wentz has shown to make any team great, Pederson has shown to be able to rally a team no matter the circumstance, and Howie Roseman has shown to be able to build a championship team, even with limited resources.

With those three in place, the Eagles are set up to be great for a very long time, and with most of the pieces from this year’s Super Bowl champions back for many years, the word dynasty does not seem so far-fetched.

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Could the Eagles first Super Bowl in franchise history just be the start of something special, and could that win over the Patriots be the changing of hands from one dynasty to the next? While nothing is guaranteed, the possibility of that happening seems very likely.