'Dynasty' talk shows Eagles' focus is wrong

July, 19, 2012
7/19/12
11:00
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Every year after a team wins the Super Bowl, one of the storylines the next morning is about whether that team can win it again and whether it can become a "dynasty." They are quite rare, these sports dynasties, so regardless of how things look in the light of one championship, the answer in reality usually turns out to be no. But it's fair, after a team wins its first championship, to wonder how many more it might be able to win.

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick has taken this one step further. According to CSNPhilly.com, Vick is talking up the Eagles as a potential dynasty before they've won even a single title.
"When I look at our football team and what we have on paper, I think about when I was growing up and the great San Francisco 49er teams, the great Green Bay Packer teams, and the great Dallas Cowboy teams, how they just positioned themselves to compete and be one of the best teams out there," Vick said.

"I think we have a chance to be that. I think we have a chance to develop a dynasty."

Sure they do. The Eagles look great on paper. Talented. Deep. Young. If they were coming off a Super Bowl title and had this exact same roster, there'd be stories written and in-depth analyses done of their potential to become a dynasty. But they're not. They're coming off a very disappointing 8-8 season with basically the same group of players. And from 8-8, you don't need to be thinking dynasty. You need to be thinking about winning one championship first. Heck, if you're the Eagles right now, you need to be thinking about trying to make the playoffs.

So that's the problem here. This isn't about whether what Vick said was accurate. It's not about whether he should be confident in his team. His confidence in his team is earnest and, I believe, justified. I think the Eagles will be a very good team this year. But I, Vick and many others believed the same last year, and for all of their talent, they too often played like a bunch of underachieving losers in big spots. Coming off of 2011, I would have expected this group of Eagles to be humble, to eschew any grand talk and to be speaking mainly -- if not only -- of the difficulty of the 2012 task that lies ahead of them and the very hard work they need to do to complete it.

The Eagles, of all teams, should know better. After backup quarterback Vince Young's ill-considered "Dream Team" comment last August came to mockingly define the flop the 2011 Eagles became, one would think Vick and his bunch would go out of their way not to say things like Vick said Tuesday. Why give people another reason to mock you? Why risk feeding into the public perception that all you are is a team full of good-looking names on a roster sheet that thinks it's better than it is? Why invite the LeBron James/Miami Heat comparisons again so soon after that burned you?

But even if public perception doesn't matter -- even if the Eagles don't give a rat's hind parts what the rest of the world thinks of them -- this is still the wrong thing to be talking about. If it's even in the Eagles' minds that they might someday be a 49ers-level dynasty, then their eyes are on the horizon when they need to be on their feet. The most important thing for the Eagles right now is the hard, nitty-gritty work they need to do to make sure they're better than 8-8 this year -- that they make good on their paper promise and knock off the defending division and Super Bowl champion Giants. That's not going to be easy, and if a dynastic destiny does await them down the road, there are dozens of very challenging hurdles they have to clear before they should even be thinking that way.

At a different point in the CSNPhilly interview, Vick said this:
"I think just getting to the postseason right now is our focus," he said. "The Super Bowl is going to come if it's meant to happen. Some of the best teams have some of the best luck. Maybe we'll have some of that. I think our focus needs to be one game at a time, just getting into the postseason."

Which really dovetails with the dynasty talk and offers evidence for those who want to believe that Vick's focus is where it needs to be right now. And maybe it is. Maybe the talk of dynasties is just something that's occurred to him in his downtime and he's able to shove it right out of his head when it's time to get to work. Eagles fans certainly hope so, because all of them are painfully aware that their team has never won even one Super Bowl. Eagles fans would be happy to talk dynasty at the appropriate time, because the appropriate time is after you win your first one.

In the meantime, though, one summer after "Dream Team" and a few months after 8-8, the Eagles weren't supposed to be about talk anymore. We won't and can't know how good the Eagles really are until we see them on the field and find out whether they're going to fall apart in the fourth quarter, over and over again, the way they did last year. The 2012 Eagles are a prove-it team, not a talk-about-it team. And talk of dynasties shows they're still thinking about the wrong thing.

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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