football-player football-score football-helmet football-ball Accuracy Arm-Strength Balance Ball-Security Ball-Skills Big-Play-Ability Block-Deconstruction Competitive-Toughness Core-Functional-Strength Decision-Making Discipline Durability Effort-Motor Elusivness Explosiveness Football-IQ Footwork Functional-Athleticism Hand-Counters Hand-Power Hand-Technique Hands Lateral-Mobility Leadership Length Mechanics Mobility Pass-Coverage-Ability Pass-Protection Pass-Sets Passing-Down-Skills Pocket-Manipulation Poise Power-at-POA Progressions RAC-Ability Range Release-Package Release Route-Running Run-Defending Separation Special-Teams-Ability-1 Versatility Vision Zone-Coverage-Skills Anchor-Ability Contact-Balance Man-Coverage-Skills Tackling Lifted Logic Web Design in Kansas City clock location phone email play chevron-down chevron-left chevron-right chevron-up facebook tiktok checkbox checkbox-checked radio radio-selected instagram google plus pinterest twitter youtube send linkedin search arrow-circle bell left-arrow right-arrow tdn-mark filled-play-circle yellow-arrow-circle dark-arrow-circle star cloudy snowy rainy sunny plus minus triangle-down link close drag minus-circle plus-circle pencil premium trash lock simple-trash simple-pencil eye cart

Stop Calling The Eagles ‘Overrated’

  • Alonso Cervera-Pizana
  • February 10, 2023
  • Share

Super Bowl week is the best. It’s a celebration of two champions, the two best teams in football, and two teams who have earned the right to play for the biggest prize in American professional sports: a Lombardi Trophy.

But Super Bowl week is also the worst. Why? Because it turns into narrative week. And it makes sense! The casual fan is bored by, or does not understand, analysis of why Haason Reddick might be a challenging matchup for Orlando Brown Jr. It’s also hard to fill two weeks of airtime with that analysis—and everyone has air time to fill. Ideally, this comes in the form of digestible content for all, and unfortunately, that can often veer into hot-take nonsense.

This year, a popular narrative has emerged in the cesspool of Super Bowl week hot takes that the NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles are overrated. The theory behind the hot take (that has become too mainstream to be considered hot at this point) is simple: the Eagles haven’t played any good teams or good quarterbacks! Their league-best 14-3 record is a byproduct of their relative cakewalk of a schedule. Oh, and when Philadelphia has had to play good quarterbacks? They let up 33 points to Aaron Rodgers and 40 points to Dak Prescott (two players, incidentally, the media tore down in this same cycle of hot takery just a few weeks ago).

The Eagles are not overrated. Not even close. Is it too simplistic to say that teams do not go 14-3 by accident? Can I just end this article by saying that teams do not luck into the best record in the NFL and a Super Bowl berth? Common sense should rule the day here. No? Okay, fine. Philadelphia’s performance, coaching, and roster all indicate that they are one of, if not the best, team in the NFL.

The Eagles played an undoubtedly easy schedule this season. If Philadelphia wins the Super Bowl on Sunday, they will become the fourth team to win the Super Bowl with the easiest regular-season schedule by average DVOA of their opponents, per Football Outsiders’ Aaron Schatz. However, Philadelphia has not skated by the season beating its opponents; they have mostly pummeled them. The Eagles had the third-best point differential in the NFL this season, outscoring their opponents by a total of 133 points on the season. By comparison, the Chiefs, who also finished 14-3 and played the fourth-easiest schedule by DVOA this season, outscored their opponents by a total of 127 points, ranking fourth in the NFL.

In addition to this, while Philadelphia’s underlying metrics suggest they should have regressed to the mean slightly this season, they do not paint the picture of the Eagles as a mediocre team. Philadelphia’s Pythagorean wins expectation, which measures how many games teams should have won based on their point differential, had them winning approximately 12 games, good for third best in the NFL by the model. In other words, if the Eagles are overrated, the numbers dictate that they should still be considered one of the league’s premier teams.

When the Eagles hired Nick Sirianni, the media panned the hire as weak and uninspired. Sirianni may not have been Philadelphia’s first choice for their head coaching job in 2021, but he has undoubtedly become one of the best head coaches in the NFL. It is easy to attribute Sirianni’s success to coaching one of the league’s elite rosters (a roster we’ll get into later). However, even isolating roster factors, Sirianni has become one of the league’s premier in-game decision-makers as a head coach, a fact that cannot go unnoticed given his delegation of offensive play-calling duties to offensive coordinator Shane Steichen early in the 2021 season. According to SumerSports, Sirianni led the league with a 70.5% win probability added over expected this season due to coaching decisions. These include metrics such as decision-making on fourth down, two-point conversion attempts, timeout usage, and delay of game penalties. Sirianni’s game management passes the eye test and is quantifiably phenomenal; he has become one of the NFL’s best in-game coaches.

Sirianni’s lieutenants are just as qualified. Jeff Stoutland, Philadelphia’s offensive line coach, has been crucial to Philadelphia assembling the league’s best offensive line in terms of both high-end talent and depth. Stoutland helped develop NFL International Pathway prospect and former seventh-round pick Jordan Mailata into one of the best left tackles in the NFL. He also helped maximize former fourth-overall pick Lane Johnson, who has become one of the best right tackles in recent memory. Steichen will likely get a head coaching job in one of the next few cycles. Defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon, while controversial, deploys the type of “eschew the run, sell out to stop the pass” defense that has become crucial in the NFL. Philadelphia has one of the best coaching staffs in the NFL.

Finally, the real evidence for the Eagles being really good is their players. The Eagles have a ton of really good players. Of course, they’re a really good team! The Eagles had six players named first or second-team All-Pros: A.J. Brown, James Bradberry, Haason Reddick, Jason Kelce, Johnson, and Jalen Hurts.

Beyond Philadelphia’s high-end talent, it is difficult to identify a true weakness on their team. All of their starters on offense outside of number three receiver Quez Watkins have graded out at above a 70 on Pro Football Football Focus this season. On defense, only safety Marcus Epps and defensive tackle Fletcher Cox grade out below a 65 in Philadelphia’s base nickel. Even a supposed weak link in Cox (a former superstar) is mitigated by the fact that the Eagles rotate their defensive tackles constantly. Cox cycles in and out of the game in a rotation with the likes of Jordan Davis, Linval Joseph, and Ndamukong Suh. General manager Howie Roseman built this team with an ethos of no weak links. Going into training camp, it looked like he may have had a weak link at safety… then he traded for C.J. Gardner-Johnson. The 2022 Eagles are a master case study on how to build a team around a rookie quarterback contract.

No matter what happens on Sunday, the 2022 Eagles were a very good team. They might win a championship. They might go into the graveyard of Super Bowl losers at the hands of one of the greatest player-coach duos in the history of the sport. There’s no shame in that. Just don’t call this team overrated if it happens.

Written By

Alonso Cervera-Pizana