Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Week 15 wrap

Since 1988 the Philadelphia Eagles have had only four losing seasons, and have won 10 or more games 12 times. Three of those losing seasons took place between 1997 and 1999, when the rebuilding Eagles were monumentally bad.

Taking those three years and the second half of last year's injury-fest out of the equation, I've expected the Eagles to win every single game they've played since 1988.

I know, from a macro standpoint, that makes no sense. There has been exactly one undefeated team in modern NFL history. And, like every other football fan, I do look at the schedule when it released in April and check off wins and losses, usually ending up with a number between 10 and 14 in the win column.

But once September comes, and I sit down to watch the games, I expect nothing short of victory. For me, this means there can only be two possible Sunday outcomes: Anger or relief.

I'm not knocking relief -- it's a good feeling -- but it's simply not as strong a sensation as anger is.

Because of this disparity, the Eagles need to win 11 games a year or I finish the season with an abundance of anger. That's not even taking into account the playoffs which always leave me mad. Although that anger is usually tempered by the holiday season and the fact that when the anger comes it means I don't have to deal with the Eagles for another eight months.

This is all to say I gave up on the Eagles about four weeks ago. Officially, it was when McNabb went out for the season. But the roots of the surrender stretched to the previous weeks, which featured devastating loss after devastating loss and a general decline of both the offense and the defense.

Now the Eagles, under the direction of a resurrected Jeff Garcia, have won three in a row and are currently the toast of the pathetic NFC. Two of these three victories -- over Carolina and the Giants -- I didn't see coming. When I sat down to watch those games I fully expected a loss.

Confronted with these surprise results I felt a strange sensation I've never felt before on an autumn Sunday. It was a feeling of. . . joy.

So that's why people follow sports!

The moral of the story should be that I need to train myself to expect the loss. Of course that is not possible. Now I fully expect the Eagles to go into Dallas and beat the Cowboys and their faltering defense. Then, next week, crowd noise and tricky defensive schemes should be enough to befuddle the tragically befuddle-able Michael Vick. Those two wins would leave the Eagles as NFC East Champions and the popular favorite to make the Super Bowl.

The Eagles would meet one of the AFC powerhouses in the final game. They would be the heavy Super Bowl underdogs. But the Eagles would also be on a eight game winning streak so I could never, in good conscience, expect anything less than a victory.

So really, all I can hope for the rest of the season is a nice, long sigh of relief. Although I should probably prepare myself for a lot of anger.

Picks: With the picks I only expect to finish slightly above 500. I made my big move towards that goal this week -- 12-4. 100 -104-6 for the year.


Anonymous said...

Jeff Garcia is the best quarterback in football.

Gone to the blogs said...

I have slightly different sports viewing problem. Over the years, I've convinced myself that the mere act of watching a team I care about play on TV causes them to lose. I swear I cost the Mets roughly 10-15 Saturday afternoon games this summer.

JT said...

In my experience, our problems aren't mutually exclusive.