If someone gave you those two scores before Saturday night, and told you they would be the finals of the Eagles-Cowboys, and the Ravens-Patriots, how many people would have said the traditional powers, the ones who dominated their respective conferences for the past decade, would be the winner? That’s the thing about life, though. Everyone’s time comes to an end. The Pistons passed the torch to the Bulls, Avon Barksdale passed the torch to Marlo Stanfield, and after this weekend, the two teams who flexed their muscles from 2000 to 2009 have to go back to the drawing board.
I was doing field work for ETSF at Jerry’s World on Saturday night (actually, I was just there taking in the game as a fan, but field work looks much more professional), and even as a die-hard Cowboys fan, I was shocked by how well we looked, but also at the lack of fight in the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles I have grown accustomed to seeing rarely lose in the first round of the playoffs. The Eagles I’ve come to know feast on the Dallas Cowboys, and plenty of other teams in the NFC. However, that wasn’t the case on Saturday night. Hell, the Eagles team I saw on Saturday night wouldn’t win a high school state championship. The Cowboys took them to the woodshed in ways that I have rarely seen them taken. Donovan McNabb looked old, and it pains me to say that, because he’s my favorite player of all-time. Vick came in and threw a TD on his first pass, just to go fumble the ball on his next play, later in the game.
The defense looked pathetic, their special teams play was awful, their receivers (with the exception of Jeremy Maclin) weren’t worth a damn, and every one of the Cowboy fans, myself included, loved what we saw. Brian Westbrook was just a dude with a jersey on, Andy Reid looked like he was ready to go home by halftime, and the Eagles fans that were at the game got the royal treament from us all night long. At the same time, I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a small bit of sadness that came out of me (very small), because where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and there’s plenty of blame to go around for Philly’s demise. It’s one thing to lose in the playoffs, but it’s another thing to lose to the Cowboys, and it’s even more to lose to us three times in a season. With this, it gives us Cowboys fans much to cheer about, while the Eagles faithful will complain more than ever.
As for the Patriots, even with all the problems they’ve had this season, I’d be lying if I said I saw this one coming either. The Ravens are the truth, as we all know, but the Patriots don’t lose in the first round, either. Even with their defense getting carved up like a Thanksgiving turkey all year, they weren’t supposed to lose early, and they certainly weren’t supposed to get their tails whipped, but someone didn’t tell Ray Rice that. Maybe Rice is too young to remember, or care, that the Patriots don’t lose early, because he took his first handoff to the house, and after that, the Ravens truly piled up on the whooping they handed out. People may make excuses for the Pats, by saying Wes Welker was out, and that Brady still wasn’t 100% from his knee injury, but nothing was gonna stop the Ravens yesterday, and even with Joe Flacco doing his best Greg McElroy impression, the Ravens still destroyed the Patriots.
At the moment, I don’t know, nor do I care, how the Eagles and Pats are going to recover. That can wait for a season preview, or if Ed feels like fixing them. They’re outta the playoffs, and there’s a significant segment of the football universe that’s glad to see them gone. Even with that, I’d be a fool not to acknowledge their impact on the game for the past ten years, and in a way, it’s a shame it had to end like this.