Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Top 10 Most Disappointing Eagles Teams

So after nine games of watching this laundry, I'm pretty well convinced that this is the most disappointing team in the franchise's history. But that history goes over 70 years... and this is a franchise that starts 12-40-2 in its first five years, and hasn't ended their season with a meaningful win in 50 years. So maybe I'm being unfair. We wouldn't want that to happen, would we?

To be clear, vast portions of the franchise history -- the '30s, '60s and '70s, mostly -- don't qualify under the aegis of disappointing. Those teams either stunk or were plucky building projects. And fans don't mind the young team that can't get over the hump in a playoff game; they can break your heart, but they can't disappoint.

So let's wallow with perspective, shall we?

10) 1990. OK, we knew that Buddy Ryan was a sideshow coach that could not possibly win a playoff game, but what a defense -- Eagle Fan can still rattle off the names without any prompting. It ends with a home playoff loss to a Joe Gibbs Redskins team that does nothing but play a vanilla zone all game long, because that was just all that you needed to do to beat Buddy Ryan in the playoffs. But remember, folks, Philly Fan is bitter for no reason. No reason at all.

9) 1950. Just to show you I did the research. This team defended a championship (yes, the Eagles occasionally won those back in the day) by going 6-6 and having their coach retire. A four game losing streak ended it, despite the presence of a young Chuck Bednarik. And if anyone reading this wants to weigh in on how hard that year is, I'd love to hear it.

8) 2009. Donovan McNabb's final season in the laundry ended with back to back curb stompings at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys. which more or less erased any good feeling you might have had from a six-game midseason winning streak. Following a miraculous run to the NFC Championship against the Cardinals, it was, in the final analysis, just another year in the later days of Coach For Life Reid; a good enough team, doing it with mirrors, that folded when you lined up and ran it straight at them. So not a historically bid disappointment, and when they finally moved McNabb in the off-season, it took most of the taste away. Most.

7) 1995. The final year of the Buddy Ryan Talent Era, this one ended with an unprepared Randall Cunningham coming in to relieve on a road playoff loss in Dallas. At the time, we all thought that simply getting Rich Kotite out of our lives would solve all problems, and a seven of eight streak under Rodney Peete felt like found money. Even more found money came in the wild card round, where the last Detroit Lions team with Barry Sanders that made the playoffs got absolutely destroyed. But that ending? Oh, that ending. Pain.

6) 2003. It started with a revenge game gone wrong -- the team lost its opener at the Linc to the Bucs, who beat them in the NFC Championship Game the year before. And maybe it's harsh to consider a year in which 4th and 26 to Fred Mitchell happens, but the simple fact of the matter is that beating Brett Favre in a playoff game in the last five years of his career turns out to not be that big of a deal. This year ended with their third straight NFC Championship game, this time to the utterly underwhelming Jake Delhomme and the Carolina Panthers. Yes, seriously.

5) 1989. Here's how silly the Eagle defense was in this, probably the most spectacular year of the Ryan Era, in that we had no idea at the time that playoff wins were not going to be part of the equation -- they sacked the QB 62 times (!) and forced 56 turnovers. No, seriously; in 16 games, nearly four sacks and 3+ turnovers a game. It all rolled up to an 11-5 record, a wild-card berth, and a stunning home playoff loss to the Jim Everett Rams. It's hard to believe that even now, isn't it?

4) 1982. Following their first Super Bowl appearance and that startling win over the Cowboys, it seemed like the conference should be theirs, and all looks well after a 9-2 start. And then a four-game losing streak that came completely out of the blue, punctured any air of inevitability and rising momentum. It ended with fumbled punt returns in a road loss to the Giants, and the sense that the window had passed. It had. (And if you want to make Eagle Fans of a Certain Age cringe, just say these two words: Wally Henry. It's been 30+ years, and it still gives me hives.)

3) 1992. Probably the most excited the fanbase had ever been coming into the season; a historically great defense, the return of Randall Cunningham after injury, and more star power than you could easily imagine. We didn't really know how bad Rich Kotite was yet. And then Jerome Brown, the best interior defensive lineman in the team's history, has to die for no damn reason at all, and the team spends the year trying to win for his memory. It ends in Dallas, after the only playoff win in the Cunningham era in New Orleans... and immediately after this, Reggie White's God tells him to go to Green Bay. Kind of a rough year.

2) 2005. The Terrell Owens Hangover Year; it finished 6-10, with McNabb hurt and the team more or less giving up. The really amazing thing about this year? They started 4-2. Next question, please.

1) 2011. In looking over the history, it's really striking how high the hopes were for this team, and how poorly they've played. For the most part, when we expected them to be good, they at least teased us with the possibility well into December, usually with a mid-season winning streak. And then there's this team; gutless beyond reproach, apathetic beyond recrimination, flawed on top of flawed.

So... yes. It's theirs. They've won something after all. Start carving.


Tracer Bullet said...

Can't argue with the top two, but I would have found room somewhere for 2004. Watching grind out the clock late in the fourth quarter despite trailing by two scores was one of the most frustrating fan experiences I've ever had.

DMtShooter said...

Incredibly disappointing game; rather than team. But yes, I feel every part of that. And remain convinced that the Patriots cheated in the second half, since every single blitz was met by a screen pass to the perfect location...

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