- Phil Sheridan, ESPN Staff Writer
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PHILADELPHIA – It makes for interesting discussion -- Manning vs. Brady, Kaepernick vs. Wilson -- but if you really want to know who will win Sunday's championship games, count the former Eagles.
Baseball has that thing about ex-Cubs never winning the World Series. The NFL playoffs, at least this offseason, have the Eagles jinx.
It's simple enough. Whichever team has the most significant connection to the Eagles will lose. The formula has worked for six of the seven postseason games for which it was applicable.
Start with the first round. The Eagles obviously have the most significant Eagles connection of all. They lost to the Saints. Kansas City, coached by former Eagles head coach Andy Reid, lost to Indianapolis.
San Franscisco/Green Bay really is a push. Neither team has an ex-Eagle on its roster. But each has the brother of a current Eagle: San Francisco's Garrett Celek and Green Bay's Clay Matthews. The ex-Eagles jinx did not apply here.
The exception was San Diego's victory over Cincinnati. The Chargers have a handful of ex-Eagles, including tackle King Dunlap and running back Ronnie Brown. Apparently, the ex-Eagles jinx isn't as powerful as the Andy Dalton jinx.
In the second round, the jinx was a perfect four-for-four. Carolina, with ex-Eagles assistants Ron Rivera and Sean McDermott coaching a defense with Quintin Mikell at safety, lost at home to the Eagles-free 49ers. The Chargers' ex-Eagles caught up to them in a loss to Denver (Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie notwithstanding).
It was ex-Eagle Stanley Havili who bobbled a pass into the arms of a defender in the Colts' loss to New England. As if he needed to prove his genius one more time, Patriots coach Bill Belichick kept his only former Eagle, Isaac Sopoaga, on the inactive list.
If Belichick does the same Sunday, the Patriots will have the edge over the Rodgers-Cromartie laden Broncos.
In the NFC, the 49ers remain Eagles-free. Clemons, who spent two seasons in Philadelphia, puts the jinx squarely on the Seahawks.
If form holds, then, the 49ers will face the Patriots in the Super Bowl, and the outcome may depend on whether Sopoaga plays.
Preposterous, you say? About as preposterous as a franchise failing to win a single Super Bowl in the 48-year history of the game.