The time has come for Jack to once again attempt to climb the beanstalk.
It’s not that Jack hasn’t tried before. But such an opportunity has been very rare, with only two prior attempts in fifty-two years, both of which were unsuccessful.
The first time, back in January of 1981, most expected that Jack would be victorious. But as we all know, the favorite does not always succeed, and Jack was wound up tighter than a yo-yo, nervous and on edge, and it showed as he never had a chance, hitting the ground with a thump almost before he started the climb.
During his last attempt in 2005, Jack showed more resolve early on, and for a while, it looked like he might actually succeed. But the giant not only had too much talent, but also seemed to use some unscrupulous methods against Jack, and with time eventually working against him, Jack did not display the urgency that many expected, which eventually resulted in his downfall and another lost opportunity.
And so it’s come to this.
Thirteen years have passed, and on Sunday, Jack will once again look up at the beanstalk and attempt to do what has failed him those two previous occasions – climb to the top and rightfully claim all the riches that await there.
Many will wait with bated breath as he tries, knowing that the giant that awaits to thwart him is not only a very formidable foe, but the same one he faced previously. The giant has seen many attempt to try, and with the exception of one, all others have failed.
Shall he succeed, there will be more than just a bag of gold coins, a goose that lays golden eggs, and a magic harp awaiting him.
If he succeeds, the heart and admiration of a city, a city that has watched him come so close before only to fall short, will be in his hands.
If he succeeds, all the demons of years’ past will have be exonerated. All of those years when others around him were successful multiple times while Jack could not succeed even once will have been forgotten.
The “Jack”, as you know by now, is your Philadelphia Eagles, an organization that has not tasted a championship since 1960. Ironically, the “Super Ball”, a bouncing ball made of synthetic rubber, was created four years later, which was the basis for the coining of the NFL championship being called the Super Bowl.
But 52 years of the modern age of the NFL (the “Super Bowl” age) have passed, and while the other kids that play alongside the Eagles in the NFC East playpen (the Giants, Redskins, & Cowboys) have won 12 of the previous 52 Super Bowls, the Eagles still carry the shame of never having won even once, figuratively wearing a big fat zero on their chest like a scarlet letter.
But all that could change come Sunday night. Much like the Patriots did back in the 2001 season, a win, in the best case scenario, could catapult this team into years of organizational success with Carson Wentz at the helm.
Win, and the Eagles have some bragging rights with their fellow NFL, and more specifically, NFC East brethen.
Once again, their opponent is the favorite, but would they want it any other way? The prognosticators haven’t had the Birds favored in three straight games, but prognosticators are like meteorologists…they only seem to be right half of the time anyway.
The one area where the Eagles lack compared to their opponent is experience, but eventually, blocking, tackling, schemes, and talent win the game, and the Eagles have enough of it to succeed.
The strange thing is that while New England has won 5 of the last 16 Super Bowls, they’ve all been close games, with their five victories decided by a total margin of 19 points. They’ve never dominated their opponents the way the San Francisco 49ers of the 1980’s and the Dallas Cowboys of the 1990’s did.
At some point, the clock did EVENTUALLY strike midnight for Cinderella. Perhaps it’s now time for the Patriots championship carriage to turn into a pumpkin as well?
I think the Eagles will win for one reason and one reason only – it’s THEIR time. This team has faced so much adversity in the form of injuries to key players, with the biggest one being the loss of their franchise quarterback. Yet they have persevered and made it all the way to the doorstep of a championship.
If the Birds don’t attain their ultimate goal on Sunday night, we can look back at a very enjoyable season with much optimism for the future. But if they were to win, aside from celebrating in frigid Minneapolis on Sunday night, I will ecstatically look forward to one thing – writing about it afterwards.
The writing part won’t be hard at all. Frankly, it’s been in my head for 12 years since I started writing about the Eagles to my friends by email on the eve of the NFC Championship in 2005.
I just need the Birds to do their part and give me a reason to put it on paper….and I believe they will.
So fasten your seatbelts and, as an ex-Eagles wide receiver once said “Get your popcorn ready”!
Jack is primed to climb the beanstalk once again, and this time he is meant to succeed.