The Philadelphia Eagles season has been something unbelievably special for the franchise. This has included a collection of off-season moves, a truly impressive coaching staff, and the progression of numerous players, primarily MVP candidate Jalen Hurts. Philadelphia’s Super Bowl run may be viewed as something out of a dream for the franchise and its fans. Nevertheless, the path to get there came with plenty of notions and narratives that worked to downplay their legitimacy and credibility.
Confidence in this team months before preseason camp was inconsistent, whether that happened to come from Philadelphia-based outlets or national perspectives. The constant conversation regarding whether or not Jalen Hurts would be able to live up to such drastic expectations dominated the feelings surrounding how the public viewed the team overall and their chances for success. This is exactly where the narratives began for the team and continually worked to prove everyone wrong.
Way back in a March interview in 2022, Ron Jaworski, who has expressed his praise for Hurts throughout this season, provided his doubts and skepticism regarding Hurts’ potential.
“I don’t see the ceiling that high for him. I see a competent quarterback. I see a guy that’s going to play solid football for ten years in this league,” said ex-Eagles quarterback Jaworski. “But is the ceiling up here? I’m having a hard time buying into that.”
Ron Jaworski has doubts that Jalen Hurts can be the guy to win the Eagles a Super Bowlhttps://t.co/SdpowrC0rV
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) March 7, 2022
Hurts has silenced or calmed down his doubters for now after posting an MVP-caliber season and leading his team to Super Bowl LVII. Building from the Hurts discussions, Howie Roseman’s exciting offseason was full of free agent signings, veteran player deals, and big trades that prompted plenty of intrigues. Yet, once the draft day trade for A.J. Brown took place, questions arose surrounding how all of these weapons around Hurts will be effectively utilized.
The narrative on Hurts and the team moved to, now that Philadelphia appeared to have the necessary offensive tools for success, how will they all get the ball enough to make an impact? Such a discussion proved to be completely irrelevant as both A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith managed to compile over 1,000 receiving yards with Dallas Goedert also managing to become a major factor in just about every game. Day in and day out, this Eagles team proved more doubters wrong and once they really started to succeed and win throughout the season, what Jalen Hurts and the team was doing became hard to comprehend.
The Hurts doubters lingered as the season went on, as Twitter conversations and opinions appeared attempting to state how Hurts could not be the reason for their success. Aside from excellent defensive play, which seemed to go rather undervalued and underappreciated, the offensive success and growth caused critics to show up in full force and create the next absurd and almost comedic narrative. The major contributor was Micah Parsons’ comment on Jalen Hurts in regard to him seeing Hurts as a system quarterback.
“Is it Hurts or the team? It’s system and team,” said Parsons. “I just love the game so much and I understand it so much, that when things are off, I just can’t, I’ve got to say something.”
.@MicahhParsons11 weighs in on the Jalen Hurts MVP buzz 👀
(via The Voncast) pic.twitter.com/mZj9bpMSOb
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 14, 2022
Labeling Hurts as a system quarterback is nothing short of disrespectful, and it only added fuel to the fire. After observing what he has been able to accomplish this season, it is difficult to understand how such comments and narratives continue to begin, but it is also no surprise that it happens. The Eagles’ quarterback was previously quoted reacting to another instance where he was considered to be a system quarterback. This interview has gained plenty of attention as the nickname Jalen “The System” Hurts has become more popular.
“People will create this term of ‘the system quarterback.’ Well look, with the number of coaches I’ve played with, I’ve been the system,” said Hurts in a 2020 interview.
While the shoulder injury to Hurts may have caused plenty of concern for the team, the silver lining is that it revealed just how valuable he is to Philadelphia’s success. After losing the next two games after the injury with Gardner Minshew at the helm, his return in Week 18 to defeat the New York Giants let the league know that Hurts’ team was only getting started. Although the team had just collected their fourteenth win of the season and the number-one seed, the skepticism did not stop.
After New York’s playoff win over the Minnesota Vikings, Daniel Jones and the Giants were viewed as red hot. For some, such a strong performance against Minnesota painted the picture that Philadelphia should be on upset watch. With Jones and Saquon Barkley having career seasons, defeating them a third time in one season would be tough. Yet, those notions were extinguished after the 38-7 Divisional round victory. Not long after, the San Francisco 49ers, after beating the Dallas Cowboys, were the next obstacle.
This challenge proved to be somewhat of a walk in the park. After the Brock Purdy injury, coach of the year candidate Kyle Shanahan had no answers. Yet, Philadelphia’s win did not impress once again, despite their ability to put up 31 points on the number one ranked defense in the NFL that allowed only 16.3 points per game in the regular season. Predictably enough, the narrative shifted again pointing toward the Eagles’ path to the Super Bowl being easy.
Leading up to each playoff game, Philadelphia was not given enough respect and experienced plenty of doubt despite being the top seed in the NFC. After each victory, the stories shifted to each opponent being another example of why Philadelphia had such an easy-going journey to the Super Bowl. Perhaps it is not that Philadelphia’s path to the Super Bowl was easy, maybe it is simply that the critics refuse to give them any respect because it would mean that they were wrong all along.
If going after Hurts and the other players all year was not enough, Giants safety Julian Love went on to express his opinions on Nick Sirianni and his credibility as a head coach with the Good Morning Football crew.
“He’s in for a free ride,” said Love. “You guys can coach this team.”
“He’s in for a free ride right now.”
Giants S Julian Love on Nick Sirianni pic.twitter.com/MuFDSQBzpR
— JAKIB Sports (@JAKIBSports) February 2, 2023
Not to mention 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk making comments inferring that the Kansas City Chiefs will expose Philadelphia. The Eagles have faced so much scrutiny and disrespect, with the doubts starting at the conclusion of last season. Whether it focused on Jalen Hurts, Nick Sirianni, Howie Roseman, or any other aspect of the team, Philadelphia has managed to overcome such ever-changing narratives and prove the doubters wrong by drastic measures.
As the Philadelphia Eagles continue to prepare for Super Bowl Sunday and chase down their second championship in the last five years, it is clear that the team has been ready for months. Although Andy Reid, Patrick Mahomes, and the rest of the Chiefs team is a formidable opponent that should not be underestimated, Philadelphia is surely up to the challenge.
– You can reach Alex Schmidt at firstname.lastname@example.org