This NFL season has been an exciting one for the City of Brotherly Love. Philadelphia’s 3-0 Eagles are the talk of the sports-town after a near miss with the Flyers and a disappointing season for the Phillies. It’s only September and the season is still young, but the Birds are off to a great start.
They remain a second half team, much like there were the last few years. However, now the way the team has been conditioning is being touted as a reason why they are able to run their opponents off the scoreboard by the end of the fourth quarter. One lonely Bird felt like it was a bit too much of a workout and did a lot of chirping about it to the press.
Instead of the big story being about the Eagles leading the NFC East or being undefeated or making NFL history as the only team to win its first three games despite being down by at least ten points; thanks to CB Cary Williams, “We talkin’ about practice.” That quote was made famous by another Philadelphia athlete, Allen Iverson, when he wore a 76ers uniform. Williams has since then apologized for his comments and Coach Kelly blew off the notion that it was an issue or anything worth talking about. He chalked it up to Williams being “frustrated.” I could think of a few less kind adjectives.
Practice is not for the faint of heart. It’s not for those who strive for mediocrity. The greats view practice as a part of their recipe for success. Michael Jordan and LeBron James, for instance, are known for their relentless habits when it comes to just that--practice. Practice may well be the one thing that sets the Philadelphia Eagles apart from their opponents: including how much they practice; what goes into their practice; and how prepared they are as of a result of their practice. It makes me wonder--when practice became a dirty word?
As the Eagles head into week four and take the cross country trip to San Francisco, they are headed into a tough game against a highly formidable opponent. There definitely needs to be more focus on putting points up in the first half. It’s a realistic concern that the second half explosion could misfire. The 49ers, 0-1 at home, are having a challenging year on and off the field with a suspended player grabbing the headlines and talk about dissatisfaction with the coach rumoured to come from the front office. They’ve had some disappointing losses at 1-2 that have most likely put a fire under their pants. It will by no means be an easy game for the Eagles. But the difference could come down to what Coach Kelly has them doing in--well...you guessed it...practice.
Helen “Love My Eagles” Little