Few would have blamed Chip Kelly if he had approached the Bears game as an exhibition. He could have rested his starters. He could have protected his stars from the possibility of injury. He could have played for next week. It would have been disingenuous – because Kelly has programmed his players to view each game as a one-week season and to not look ahead – but certainly understandable.
“Very simply, we’re from Philadelphia, and we fight,” Kelly said. “That’s it. If there’s a game on, we’re playing. End of the story.”
It was a corny bit of collegiate rah-rah, but the point was well taken. Fighting against Chicago accomplished a number of things, intended or not. It got the Eagles on the winning track. They had a chance to extend their lead over Dallas last week against the Vikings and stumbled big time. This eradicated that.
She’s 100% right, too. The Eagles inexplicably… tried. And they played their best game of the year in the process– shutting down the one of the best offenses in the NFC and putting up over 50 points. It makes almost no sense. Kelly’s full fight quote, however, explains why the same intensity was there:
“Very simply: we’re from Philadelphia and we fight. That’s it. If there’s a game on, we’re playing. End of story. All this stuff about backing in, not worrying about things, I have no idea. So many different scenarios. Could’ve been a tie. What if there’s a tie when we go play Dallas next week and then we game a game away last week? If we’re going to line up and kickoff, you tell us what time to show up and we’ll be there.”
[I have no idea if his tie scenario is even accurate. I’m pretty sure the Cowboys would still get the tiebreaker. But who cares? Go with it. Chip’s fired up. I’m fired up. My pants are fired up.]
I said it a few weeks ago and I still believe it to be the case: They are showing all the signs of being a team that is finally gelling at the right moment and playing their best football in the second half of the season and will be totally underrated come January. The only part of that that might be untrue is the underrated part. They just became the sexy team, and rightfully so. But beyond that, they’re lovable, man-crushable. They’re dynamic, fun to watch, they play hard, don’t make excuses, and words like the ones Kelly uttered would’ve felt so, so lost, so alone, anywhere near Andy Reid’s fat lips.
Finally, a football team, and coach, that seems to grasp what it means to play in Philly.