It’s not a ‘total pit of despair’ for Eagles fans as team’s hopes dim

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper (19) celebrates after a 75-yard touchdown catch against the Philadelphia Eagles during the second half of an NFL football game, in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper (19) celebrates after a 75-yard touchdown catch against the Philadelphia Eagles during the second half of an NFL football game, in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

For all the Eagles fans who told the football gods they’d never ask for anything else if their team won a Super Bowl title, Sunday’s gutting loss to Dallas begets an obvious question:

Was it worth it?

Ten months after the greatest conquest in franchise history, the Philadelphia Eagles find themselves unlikely to even make the NFL playoffs. After an overtime defeat at Dallas Sunday night, Philly now has a 14 percent chance to qualify for the postseason, according to the prognosticators at FiveThirtyEight.

The Birds’ fall from grace isn’t unprecedented. In fact, four of the prior 10 Super Bowl champions didn’t make the playoffs the following year. The NFL is known for its topsy-turvy unpredictability.

Still, Philadelphia fans can be famously fickle. For a city that waited more than 50 years to taste Super Bowl glory, how long does it take the good vibes to fade?

“I don’t feel sad at all,” said Justin Wilson, a construction worker from Southwest Philadelphia.

Justin Wilson and his friends from the carpenter’s union discuss last night’s Eagles game. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Injuries and bad breaks doomed the Eagles this season, he said. And winning back-to-back championships is extremely tough.

“Long term, we will win another one,” said Wilson. “Right now you just can’t get mad at the season.”

Chris Drake was similarly sanguine.

“We were injured and we’ll do better,” he said. “Next year is our year.”

The 6-7 Eagles still have a shot this year, but it’d take a minor miracle.

The Eagles would need to win all three of their remaining games to have a shot at the postseason. From there, the most likely playoff scenario would require the Carolina Panthers losing one of their three games and the Minnesota Vikings losing two of their final four.

The Panthers and Vikings both have tough opponents left on the schedule, so it’s not that far-fetched to imagine them stumbling.

It may be harder, however, to envision Philadelphia sweeping its opponents. The Eagles have two tough opponents, the Los Angeles Rams and Houston Texans, still on their slate.

Phil Harner from South Philadelphia has come to terms with the Eagles likely missing the playoffs, and says he doesn’t feel that same “total pit of despair” he used to feel when Philly came up short. The Super Bowl title seems to have at least alleviated some of his anguish.

Phil Harner, an Eagles fan, and his mom, a Chiefs fan, visiting form Kansas, (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

But when it comes to those deals with the football gods, he thinks there should be an exclusion for any games involving the hated Dallas Cowboys.

Even with a world championship in hand “we still wanna beat the Cowboys just as bad every single year,” Harner explained.

“And I think football gods understand that.”

Lisa Riggs, a Cowboy’s fan, expresses delight at the the Eagles’ loss. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

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