The Five Stages of Grief: As Told by a Philly Sports Fan
There is just no way this is how the ride was supposed to end but the outcome seems all too inevitable. So, this is what an inmate on death row feels like. Alive for the time being, trying to comprehend the feeling of despair knowing the outcome is inevitable. Grasping any ounce of hope you can, the slim chance in the back of your mind this will somehow work out, but also dealing with the crippling depression of thinking how you got yourself in this situation in the first place. As we sit here after what would have been one of the most uplifting and joyous regular season victories for the Eagles in my lifetime, we sit on the football version of death row.
Right now we just wait for an almost inevitable outcome and metaphorical football death. The ominous diagnosis of Carson Wentz’ left knee injury looms like the lethal injection. Anyone who reads NFL Insiders tweets, follows that football doctor’s analysis, or has two eyeballs and watched the video of Wentz’ knee buckle outward, has that gut wrenching feeling of misery back in the pit of their stomach that is all too familiar for Philly sports fans. For many reasons, the main one being this is Carson Wentz we are talking about, makes this the most vicious gut punch of them all. We’ve returned to the infuriating thought process of, “Why us?!” and “What if it’s never OUR year?”.
I would consider myself in the 99th percentile as far as positivity in an Eagles fan goes. But, if Wentz is truly lost for the year, it’s hard not to consider this a D-day of sorts. I am a big believer in the years that you least expect it, the best results are produced. As fun as watching Roy Halladay was, nothing can replace the pure joy of watching the ’08 Phillies run because aside from Jimmy Rollins, none of us expected to be in the situation we were in, but the perfect storm and perfect roster was formed. That is where the Philadelphia Eagles are, or were depending on Wentz’ availability this season. We learned first hand that Chip Kelly’s “culture over talent” motto was absolute bull shit, but there is something to be said for having the perfect chemistry, something this team absolutely has. This is the locker room that is championship caliber, with guys like Chris Long, who had the key strip sack in the 4th quarter, donating his salary this year to charity. Or Brandon Graham, who for a long time was just the guy who wasn’t Earl Thomas, that has now bloomed into a pro bowler and had a lateral returned for a touchdown as a cherry on top today. As much as we always say WE deserve it, guys like that REALLY deserve it. I would give any ligament it took in order to see those guys and this team win a championship.
As Philly sports fans, we are no strangers to the misery of the sky falling after each pain staking loss. We’ve experienced the Cody Ross hot streak that ruined the Phillies title run, the Ryan Howard Achilles tear, the Buccaneers in the NFC championship game and most recently, anytime the Sixers staff gives a medical update. Losing as a Philly fan is typically death by a million cuts. Getting the notifications that Wentz wouldn’t return with a knee injury and Joel Embiid wouldn’t play because of his back three minutes apart weren’t just cuts. It was Neegan from The Walking Dead taking his spike bat and pummeling the skulls of your two beloved characters. It was the most mind numbing feeling of despair, we had fought through so many injuries, persevered through it, and yet, here we are again. Rock Bottom.
I would be lying if I told you I haven’t already talked myself into Nick Foles leading this team deep in the playoffs. If the Vikings can do this thing with Case Keenum then we got our guy too. Even with Wentz out, we never stopped passionately pulling for this Birds team in the 4th quarter. That final play, the lateral gone wrong for the Rams, was the glimmer of hope that things may just work out for us. Say what you want about this fan base, we really truly deserve glory and happiness. No matter what happens, this fan base will always be there, we’ve been though the fire and we’ve seen it all. Some day, scenes like this (see tweet below) will all pay off. Maybe that some day is still this February, with or without Wentz. Who knows.
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) December 11, 2017