By Roxana Herrera // @rxnlzbth
Dear Philadelphia Eagles,
I met you almost 15 years ago. Donovan McNabb introduced us and it was love at first sight, for me anyway. I thought you felt the same; I was sure of it, especially with the great season in 2004 that resulted in a Super Bowl appearance. I thought that was our moment. I thought that would seal the deal. Alas, what started was a roller coaster of emotions, highs and lows, and major sacrifices were made that tested my love for you, my loyalty to you.
I’ll admit, throughout the years I found myself questioning us. I looked around me and saw so many fans throwing their rings in my face, and yet here we were, ringless, with no sign of that changing in the distant future. After Andy Reid left, I was so confused. I thought we were happy. But he was battling personal issues and you decided it would be best if he focused on them on his own so we gave him his space. And I trusted you with that. It hurt like hell when he quickly moved on to someone else and found success.
We moved on to Chip Kelly. Someone newer and younger and because you were so confident in him, again, I trusted you and jumped on in. The first year, the newlywed stage, was fun. We had a great season, a winning season, and just as I was becoming hopeful for our future, things started to crumble. Kelly wanted control, and there’s a history of men who are controlling, but we gave him the benefit of the doubt.
Instead of stabilizing the team, Kelly, you chose to spice things up and toss aside the players that brought us joy. It left a bitter taste in my mouth but I defended you and followed you. After an embarrassing collapse, the difficult decision was made to call it quits with you, and this one hurt even more because of all the promises that were made. I will forever appreciate the memories of the amazing first year together.
Howie Roseman knew he made a mistake when he trusted Kelly with the big role, but he owned up to it and vowed to make up for it. My, how you made up for it, Howie! He introduced us to Doug Pederson, who is close to Andy Reid. I came into this new relationship weary and cautious. I usually don’t like to bring in friends of ex-coaches just in case they may have picked up some of the same qualities of the old guys, but I wanted to give him a chance to prove me wrong.
Pederson showed promise the first year. It wasn’t easy, but he picked up the pieces of the previous season and worked with it. He knew he was mending broken hearts and did so carefully and with calculation. He didn’t talk too much; he let the play calling do the talking for him, and with that, slowly began to gain the trust of Philadelphia. It wasn’t the beginning I was hoping for, but his demeanor kept me intrigued and I couldn’t wait to see what else he had up his sleeves.
In this second year, Pederson remained aggressive. He started off going back and forth, for some reason becoming too conservative at times, but he learned from it. This time around he was smarter and tougher with his play calls. Not only that, but throughout the season, he brought in assets that he felt would help this unit be even stronger. When important pieces started to fall apart, he insisted not to worry because the replacements would fit perfectly.
When everyone was doubting us, he insisted not to worry because he had faith in us. When Carson Wentz, the glue to this team, got hurt, I held my breath, but you insisted not to worry because Nick Foles would make things better. Now, Foles and I have a history. He also has a history with Pederson and Reid. So, he wasn’t new to me or Philadelphia. And I’ve always liked him, so I defended him and I vouched for him probably almost as much as you did, Doug.
Whatever happened to Foles while we were on a break, I’ll forever be grateful for because he came back a changed man. He was confident, had zen and was a man on a mission. He told a sensitive Philadelphia city to trust him and insisted he would do his best to make sure we did. Foles went on to break records and fill our hearts with the ultimate joy. He gave us the ring we have been waiting for, the ring I’ve been wanting for 15 years. Foles finally delivered, and he did so graciously.
Eagles, I gave you my heart and you have played with it, ripped it apart, broke it into pieces and sometimes even threw it away. But you’ve always managed to glue it back together ever so tenderly and made promises. You constantly gave me reasons to stay. I’m so glad I did. The tears and heartache, joy and happiness have all been worth it. I would do this all over again.
I am happy to say I am proud of you. Of us. I love you, Eagles. Thank you for making me the happiest woman in the world.
Your one and only,
Talk Eagles and Super Bowl LII with Roxana on Twitter // @rxnlzbth