by me. The case for The Eagles: Andy Reid, Donovan McNabb, Jim Johnsons Defense, The Super Bowl & Subsequent Drafts, The Immediate Past (2008 NFC Championship Game) & The Immediate Future (2009 draft, offseason acquisitions). A recent history: Andy Reid took over the Eagles on January 11th, 1999. That same year he drafted with the second overall pick Donovan McNabb who was destined to become his franchise Quarterback holding team records in: career wins, pass attempts, pass completions, passing yards and passing touchdowns. Since that time the Eagles have put together four consecutive NFCE division championship runs (2001-2004) and five NFC Championship games (2001-2004, 2008) and one super bowl appearance (Super Bowl XXXIX). Of course their defense lead by Defensive Coordinator Jim Johnson may have something to do with this. Jim Johnsons defense in Philadelphia has been incredibly succesful. Here are some numbers between 2000- and 2007: 342 sacks in 8 years. 34.3% in 3rd down efficiency 43% red zone touchdown percentage and 17.6 fewest points per game 21 points or fewer in 2001 for all 16 games and 34 straight games with 21 points or less. 1999 - 46 turnovers (NFL best), team record 5 INTs returned for TDs. Has produced 26 Pro Bowl selections (7 for Brian Dawkins alone). Super Bowl XXXIX & What Went Wrong Numerically: *everything NE did is in ( )'s The eagles had 3 fewer first downs at 21 (against 24), more turnovers: 2 fumbles, losing 1 (against 1 fumble and 1 fumble loss) 3 interceptions thrown (against none), less time of possesion 28:23 (against 31:37 which is only 3:14 seconds), threw less completions 21 (against 10, a 11 completion difference), ran for 45 yards (against 112 a 67 yards difference), less rushing attempts at 17 (against 28 which amounts to 11 less rushing attempts) and 2.6 yards per rush (against 4.1 a 1.5 yard difference). They gave up 4 sacks for 33 yards (against 2 sacks for 17) which is a 2 sack 16 yard difference. They had better third down efficiency 9-16 (against 4-12), more total yards at 369( against 331) a 38 yard difference, more passing yards at 324 (against 219) a 105 yard difference, less penalties called against them at 3 for 35 yards (against 7 for 47), which is 4 penalties and 12 yards difference. So the Eagles: lost the first down battle, lost the turnover battle, lost the time of possession battle, threw less completions, ran less, tried to run for less, gave up more sacks for more yards. but had a better third down efficiency, more total yards, more passing yards, less penalties called against them. --- of course stats and numbers don't tell you how hard each player did or didn't work, assignments they made or missed or how well the other team did against them on pure talent. the biggest factors of the game (moving the chains, keeping on top of turnovers and time of possessions and completions -- which is huge for a majority passing offense --) that could have gone wrong for the eagles went wrong. what did they need more of to reclaim a birth in the superbowl and perhaps a win? more push on the ground? more completions? defense? a better offensive line? Let's take a look at the drafts (A * indicates they're still with the team): 2006-2008 drafts: 2006 DT, Broderick Bunkley* OT, Winston Justice* LB, Chris Gocong* G, Max Jean-Gilles* WR, Jason Avant* WR, Jeremy Bloom LB, Omar Gaither* DT, LaJuan Ramsey 8 picks, 6 with team = 2 DT, 2 WR, 2 LB, 2 OL (T/G) (4 on offense, defense) 2007 QB, Kevin Kolb* DE, Victor Abiamiri* LB, Stewart Bradley* RB, Tony Hunt CB, CJ Gaddis TE, Brent Celek* CB, Rashad Barksdale RB, Nate Ilaoa LB, Akeem Jordan* 9 picks, 5 with team = 1 QB, 1 DE, 1 TE, 2 RB, 2 CB, 2 LB (5 on defense, 4 on offense) 2008 DT, Trevor Laws* WR, DeSean Jackson* DE, Bryan Smith* OG, Mike McGlynn* S, Quintin Demps* CB, Jack Ikegwuonou* OT, Mike Gibson* LB, Joe Mays* DE, Andrew Studebaker OT, King Dunlap* 10 picks, 9 with team = 1 DT, 1 WR, 1 G, 1 LB, 1 S, 1 CB, 2 OT, 2 DE (6 on offense, 4 on defense) 27 picks Total 7 picks not with team Draft Between 2006-2008 14 on offense 13 on defense = 3 DT (bunkley, ramsey, laws), 3 WR (avant, bloom, jackson), 5 LB (gocong, gaither, bradley, jordan, mays), 2 G (Jean-Gilles, McGlynn), 1 S (Demps), 3 CBs (Gaddis, Barksale, Ikegwuonou), 3 OT (Justice, Gibson, Dunlap), 3 DE (Abiamiri, Smith, Studebaker), 1 QB (Kolb), 1 TE (Celek), 2 RB (Ilaoa, Hunt). With Most Important Being Offense only slightly as a total and Linebacker by position by two picks. To me the numbers from the Super Bowl and the numbers since then until last year make sense. The offense had more trouble in the Bowl than the Defense did. These were enough to get the Eagles to the 2008 NFC Championship Game. They lost 32-25. The game was very close. The Immediate Future: 2009 FA Acquisitions, Re-Signings, Etc. FB Leonard Weaver <- S Rashad Baker, S Sean Jones <- OT Stacy Andrews <- WR Hank Baskett, C/G Nick Cole, LB Tank Daniels CB Joselio Hanson OT Jason Peters <- 2009 NFL Draft. WR Jeremy Maclin <- RB Lesean McCoy <- TE Cornelius Ingram <- CB Victor Harris <- OT Fenuki Tupou WR Brandon Gibson G Paul Fanaika OLB Moise Fokou CB Ellis Hobbs (traded for on draft day) <- These arrows ( <- ) I have placed there because I think those are the players that are (in the case of Peters, Andrews, Weaver, Jones, Hobbs) or could (Maclin, McCoy, Ingram, Harris) help the eagles make a push deep into the playoffs or help them become super bowl bound again. Conclusion: The Eagles have consistently put themselves in position to win it all going to 5 NFC Championship Games. They dominated the East from 2001-2004. They have the QB who has won the most for the Eagles under contract. They draft incredibly well in terms of 7 players not making the team from the past couple years drafts & this past year picked up huge FA acquisitions. I think they've added where they needed to since the super bowl, especially this last off-season. If the pieces fall in place (and there are quite a few that need to do so including but not limited to: draft picks & FA acquisitions becoming a success, a balanced offense and the new co-ordinator for Jim Johnson coming in and making the best use of his talented defense) they could make a serious push. The Eagles get a lot of criticism. A lot of people say Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb aren't worth their weight in gold (factoring in Reid alone that's quite a bit) but looking over these numbers they've attempted to do things right and despite losing championship games and the super bowl have put themselves in position to win. You have to ask yourself: If they had won that super bowl would the thoughts surrounding the philadelphia eagles current FO, QB & team be a little different? Is the criticism too harsh?