Philadelphia Eagles: Fans had every right to boo the Birds on Sunday

(Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia Eagles found themselves exiting Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday night amid a cacophony of boos, almost all of which were entirely justified given the product that was put on the field for a brutal loss against the rival Dallas Cowboys.

What have you done for us lately?

That was the question that was asked mockingly by commentator Al Michaels during Sunday Night Football, as the Philadelphia Eagles put up an absolute stink bomb of a first half against the Dallas Cowboys, heading into halftime with a measly three points. But the boos wouldn’t stop there, as the Eagles found numerous ways to squander a game that they absolutely had to win. By the end of the contest, it would have been difficult to find anyone wearing green that was not participating in the age-old sports tradition that is the boo.

There’s no two ways about it: The Eagles were an embarrassment on Sunday, and it’s not unfair at all to say that. People outside of Philadelphia, like the aforementioned Michaels in addition to Peter King, who wrote that the fan booing of the team was “bush league“, seem to think that Eagles fans are in the wrong for being upset that their world championship team is performing at a level of futility that would make Cleveland Browns fans envious.

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That’s all hogwash. The Eagles are the reigning Super Bowl Champions. When fans pay good money to sit in those seats, they expect to see a product worthy of that mantle. Instead, they’ve been treated to three straight home losses, including a completely inexcusable loss to a Dallas team that frankly will be lucky to finish the season with an 8-8 record.

Don’t tell us we can’t boo when are forced to endure a subpar product, because that just won’t fly in this town. It’s an ugly fact of life, but it’s a reality that professional sports are a business, and teams can go from the top of the mountain to the bottom of the barrel from one year to the next. Living in the past, and celebrating prior championships while accepting failure in the current calendar year is a recipe for disaster among a fan base. Complacency breeds apathy, and apathy can destroy a franchise.

Fortunately for the Eagles, they possess one of the most passionate fan bases in all of sports. Even now, with the team clearly struggling to stay above water, fans are not abandoning ship. Far from it. But that doesn’t mean people aren’t concerned or worried about the direction of the team. And it certainly doesn’t mean they aren’t upset, disappointed, and angry about the way the team has played this season.

No, this is not last year’s Eagles team. The creative play-calling is absent. The once dynamic offense has put up barely 20 points a game. The defense can’t stop anyone, and at times, looks like a high school unit. The coaching staff looks like a group that doesn’t have an answer, and that includes Doug Pederson. Right now, it’s fair to wonder how badly he’s missing Frank Reich and John DeFilippo.

Pederson just hasn’t had the magic this season. Sure, the team has dealt with injuries on both sides of the ball, but how is that any different from the unit that won it all last year? This team is in search of an identity right now, and it’s clear that they don’t know who they are or what they want to be. They aren’t a high scoring team, nor are they the frightening defensive team many had hoped they’d become behind their elite level defensive line.

They are an average team that looks average, to below average on Sundays. The most frustrating aspect of that reality is that the level of talent on the team just has not translated to on-field success, and that’s a stark contrast from what we witnessed just a year ago. It would be one thing to say that this is a good team that is just struggling, but that’s just not true. Right now, they look nothing like a good team, and the fans are smart enough to see that.

The Eagles have a lot of things to change and not a lot of time to do it. One thing they desperately need to do is figure out a way to rekindle the fire that burned in the locker room for most of last year. This team fed off of being the underdog and being disrespected by the national media. The team took up that mantle and owned it, dog masks and all. This team needs to find that spark again, somehow, some way. And that goes for the coaching staff as well.

Philadelphia is a proud city, and the people who live in it are unapologetic about their blue-collar, work-hard mentality. The people expect it from themselves, and they expect it from their sports teams. Maybe it’s unfair to say that this Eagles team has looked like it doesn’t care. I’m sure the players care, but on Sunday night, the Eagles looked like a team that was just going through the motions, indifferent to what was occurring on the field. That is something that the fans will not and should not tolerate, and they should expect and demand better.

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Don’t tell the fans they can’t boo. They bleed green week in and week out, and without them, there is no team.