While the Packers have gone about their usual ways of signing undrafted rookies and their own free agents, the Philadelphia Eagles have taken a different approach. In the blur that has been the first week of free agency since the lockout ended, the Eagles swooped in (pun intended) and gathered up many of the big name free agents of the 2011 class. Nnmadi Asomugha, Cullen Jenkins (that stings a little), Antonio Rodgers-Cromartie, Vince Young and Jason Babin are all new members of the team. NFL.com this morning already declared this a “dream team.”
My question to Reid, the Eagles and the NFL media is this: Have you learned nothing from the Miami Heat?
Yes, the Heat made it to the NBA Finals but they lost in six games which really is all that matters. The Heat, with their “big three” lost to a team that was truly a better team than they were.
Sure, the Eagles added a lot of superstars but are they truly the best team in the NFC? My answer is no.
In fact, the Eagles have set the stage for the true best team in the NFC to fly under the radar and make a run at Super Bowl XLVI. It just so happens that this team is the defending world champions.
Thanks to the big splashes made by the Eagles in free agency, the Packers are now in an ideal situation with everyone fawning and drooling over what Andy Reid and company have accomplished in such a short period of time. As crazy as it sounds, the Packers now have the element of surprise in their corner and they are (it bears repeating) THE DEFENDING WORLD CHAMPIONS.
It’s obvious Packers coach Mike McCarthy will use the Eagles’ spending spree to his team’s advantage. His team is suddenly yesterday’s news despite winning the Lombardi Trophy six months ago. It’s rare that a team defending its title goes from hunted to the hunter, but that’s what the Green Bay Packers have become.
Aaron Rodgers and company must be salivating. A few short months after having everyone sing his praises, Rodgers suddenly finds himself on the back page. One would think the rest of the NFL should have learned by now what happens when you scorn Aaron Charles Rodgers but apparently they haven’t.
Indeed the Packers were the trendy pick to repeat as NFC champions this year, but after only a few days of free agency many are already handing the Eagles the Lombardi Trophy. That’s the ultimate sign of disrespect to the Packers.
Honestly, the mainstream NFL media are like a bunch of toddlers. They coo and giggle all over the Packers when they won Super Bowl XLV but at the drop of a hat they find another bigger and shinier toy (the Eagles) and threw the other one into the bottom of the toybox.
Well, the NFL is about to learn the same thing the NBA just did. It’s not the teams with the most superstars that win championships. The best teams do. Exhibit A to this was the Packers’ Super Bowl XLV-winning team of a year ago, and the NFL already forgot about them. They don’t take in account the likelihood that the Eagles WILL suffer some injuries and don’t have the depth to replace any of their superstars. Is anyone really that scared of Vince Young should Michael Vick go down? If Asomugha suffers an injury, the Eagles secondary will fall into mediocrity.
The same can’t be said of the Packers. Their depth was on display last season for all the NFL to see and the Eagles failed to learn anything from them, which is ironic considering the Packers beat them TWICE last season.
The Packers (and GM Ted Thompson in particular) were touted for how they built their team. The NFL media said it served as a model for all franchises to learn from.
After a long lockout and a nation starved for anything football related NOT involving a courtroom, old habits have returned. Big free agents are the way to go and stockpiling them makes you an instant Super Bowl contender.
As the saying goes, those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
So to Philadelphia, I say enjoy your reign as preseason champions. In the meantime, Packer Nation will keep shining their four Lombardi Trophies while clearing room for a fifth.
The table has been set for another Packers Super Bowl title. Coach McCarthy, the time has come for your boys to chow down.
Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com. Follow @KrisLBurke