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Monday, January 26, 2009
Sore loser? Eagles' Lurie certainly not gracious

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

TAMPA, Fla. -- Forget about stopping the Cardinals' Larry Fitzgerald. The Eagles could have taken their rightful place in Super Bowl XLIII with a simple NFL mandate requiring Arizona officials to open the roof at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie didn't go quite that far during his gloomy interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer, but he left the impression that the wrong team won the NFC Championship Game.

Philadelphia Inquirer: You've lost four conference championship games. Does each one become more difficult?

Lurie: Each one is painful. I would say this one is tied with the Tampa Bay one as the two most painful.

Philadelphia Inquirer: Because you felt you should have won both of those games?

Lurie: And we had dominated both teams. We had dominated Tampa Bay and we had dominated Arizona.

The Eagles had defeated the Bucs and Cardinals by double-digit margins when the teams played in the regular season (20-10 over the Bucs in 2002, 48-20 over the Cardinals in 2008). But those games had nothing to do with the subsequent rematches. The Eagles dominated for about one quarter of their 32-25 defeat at Arizona. They appeared helpless in the first half and again during the Cardinals' 14-play drive to the winning touchdown.

Lurie also touched on the noisy conditions his team faced against the Cardinals, suggesting the league should have prevented Arizona from leaving its roof closed.

Philadelphia Inquirer: Should the league take control of whether a team can close the roof in the postseason?

Lurie: Yes.

Philadelphia Inquirer: Will you bring up that issue at this year's owners meetings?

Lurie: Yes. I tried to bring it up before the game and I was told when we approved these stadiums ... that the league does not take control of the dome opened-and-closed issue. My memory was wrong. I thought when we approved [Houston and Arizona] that the league takes over a playoff situation. I think it will come up and not just by me. The league should control this.

I can see the league controlling roof issues for a neutral-site game such as the Super Bowl. But Lurie sounds like a sore loser when he suggests the league should intervene in affecting the degree to which a team enjoys a home-field advantage.

In this case, the Eagles might have been better off if the league had intervened in their first-half game plan. Fitzgerald was the one player they had to contain, and they could not.