The Philadelphia Eagles are the new poster child of hope for losing NFL teams.
The losers can look to the Eagles playing in Super Bowl 52 on Sunday and try to convince the media, their fans, and even themselves, that any team can go from worst to first in one year. It can happen because, well, look at the Eagles.
They did it.
Why not us?
And this marketing of optimism and expectancy is as old as snake oil salesmen. It takes what seems plausible, in this case an example of incredible, improbable, unlikely success somewhere, and present it as the model for what could happen locally.
But don’t buy it, friends. It’s not real.
That’s not to say the Eagles aren’t real. They were indeed so bad in 2015 that Chip Kelly was fired, Doug Pederson was hired and the team finished 7-9 and in last place in the NFC East in 2016.
And, yes, here we are hours before the biggest game of the 2017 season, and the Eagles are playing in it and they might emerge as the world champions. And that would change the footing under them from the mire of 2016 to streets of gold.
It would be a great story. It would be worth studying in case it can deliver clues how to win again. And that’s what some NFL teams will do — no doubt about it.
But I suggest the manner in which teams rise from depths one year to great altitudes the next is so unique and hard to duplicate that it’s basically a waste of time to try replicating.
And, yes, I’m speaking to Dolphins fans. And yes, I’m thinking about the Dolphins.
The Eagles have done an amazing job this season. Executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman has masterfully orchestrated a roster makeover as if he were a maestro at a podium.
“Howie has come a long way through the last couple of years, and to be in this position, to help this football team win and succeed on the football field is a credit to him and his staff,” Pederson said.
This postseason the Eagles have gotten two touchdowns from LaGarratte Blount, two from Alshon Jeffery, one from Torrey Smith, and one from Miamian Patrick Robinson on an interception return. The team also has four field goals from kicker Jake Elliott.
None of those players were on the Eagles one year ago.
In 2016, Roseman traded Byron Maxwell and Kiko Alonso and the No. 13 overall pick in the NFL Draft to the Dolphins for the No. 8 overall pick. He then used that eighth overall selection, three top 100 selections, a 2017 first-round pick and 2018 second-round pick to move to No. 2 overall where he selected quarterback Carson Wentz.
Wentz was playing like an elite quarterback this season until he suffered a season-ending knee injury. So he was replaced by Nick Foles, another player Roseman added to the team last offseason.
Did I mention Roseman also added defensive end Chris Long, guard Chance Warmack and traded for cornerback Ronald Darby and defensive lineman Timmy Jernigan?
Yeah, Roseman was busy in the offseason. The man who once compiled the terribly disappointing 2011 Eagles “dream team” of Ndamdi Asomugha and others, hit the mother lode of success last offseason.
“Your good decisions are going to have to outweigh your bad ones,” Roseman said. “Make sure your priorities are intact, and when you make those bad decisions, research the heck out of it and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
And that brings me to, you guessed it, the Dolphins.
They don’t exactly avoid following one mistake with another. The Dolphins didn’t get much out of tight end Jordan Cameron in 2015 but kept him around for $6 million in 2016 and got nothing from him again. Last year they traded for tight end Julius Thomas and didn’t get the type of production they hoped for out of him, either.
There are questions about how effective the team has been finding defensive ends to help Cameron Wake. The linebacker position that was addressed aggressively in 2017 after it was a weak spot in 2016 still is not fixed.
The offensive line has been a problem for years and will be a position to be addressed — again — this offseason.
None of that includes the need for the Dolphins to have Ryan Tannehill or someone to suddenly start playing like an elite quarterback and to add a backup quarterback who can continue a drive to the Super Bowl like Foles has done.
Of course, any team can go from last to first. It has been done and definitely can happen again, even by the Dolphins. But follow the Eagles blueprint?
Hard to imagine..
Follow Armando Salguero on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero