Recency bias is a simple concept.
As a cognitive function, human beings typically favor recent events over past ones, and that’s especially true in knee-jerk Philadelphia, where the only idea that emotional sports fans subscribe to is “what have you done for me lately?”
There’s nothing wrong with that, not necessarily. The Super Bowl was three full seasons ago and Carson Wentz was utterly terrible in 2020, looking like a shell his former self en route to a benching. The offensive line was beat up, the receivers weren’t very good, and the head coach took significant steps back as a play caller and game planner.
That’s not really the point of the article, the myriad Eagle issues, but when evaluating something at its conclusion, it’s important that we consider the entirety of the situation.
And now I’ll ask a rhetorical question –
Which Carson Wentz will you remember?
- the quarterback who didn’t win a single playoff game and regressed drastically?
- or the quarterback who threw 33 touchdowns in 13 regular season games, prior to his year-ending injury?
I can only speak for myself, but it’s the latter all the way.
Nothing can take away from Carson Wentz’s incredible 2017 season. His year ended with 11 wins, two losses, and MVP consideration. His final act was to throw a touchdown pass on a torn ACL, which left Nick Foles in a position to win that Rams game and carry the torch into the playoffs. His efforts on the offensive of the ball were a significant reason why the Eagles had home field advantage and a first round bye and ultimately made it to the Super Bowl.
There is no Lombardi Trophy without Carson Wentz.
For that reason, his time here was a success. That’s the take I’m going with, and it’s not even very hot. If you ask any Eagles fan who suffered through the mid-eighties and into the Chip Kelly era, most would give a figurative arm and leg to win the Super Bowl. That’s all it ever was about, and even if Carson bombed out in 2020, I’d trade a four-win debacle for a shiny ring 100 times out of 100. If every Philadelphia sports championship was followed by five years of dog shit, I’d buy the pooper scooper right now.
Maybe you wouldn’t, and that’s alright. People have different opinions on Carson’s time in Philadelphia, though it was disappointing to see so much low-level discourse surrounding the player. You didn’t have to pick between Wentz or Foles. You could support both guys! You didn’t have to pick between Wentz and Hurts or Wentz and Doug Pederson or anything like that. You can admit that he was good in 2017 and awful in 2020. Sports fans are not very good at practicing the concept of “more than one thing can be true,” and that made the typical Wentz discussion unenjoyable and laborious.
And if Carson was a bad teammate, it wasn’t universally believed in that locker room. We put together a list of 13 players who came to his public defense within 12 hours of Joe Santoliquito’s 2019 article being published. Wentz sat with reporters and addressed the article when he did not have to. So even if we’re disappointed in the way he disappeared and did not speak with fans or media following this season, it’s not like that behavior was consistent during his Eagles tenure. From an outside perspective, he seemed like a decent guy who did positive, charitable things in this town and perhaps just didn’t always click with his coaches and teammates. I don’t think that’s anything that should necessarily shock or surprise anybody, because you’d be hard pressed to find a locker room or player/coach situation where things are 100% peachy.
With time, opinions shift and hard feelings subside. We were pissed when Jayson Werth signed with the Nationals, and that’s water under the bridge now. Nobody cares about that. Eric Lindros didn’t have a great relationship with Philadelphia after leaving, and that’s now been repaired as well. I think the longer we go, the more people will be able to fairly evaluate the entirety of Carson’s time in Philadelphia and appreciate his contributions on the 2017 squad.
Ultimately, what we have now is a win/win for both sides. Wentz gets a change of scenery and a fresh start, and the Eagles correct the mistake they made in extending him. It’s a necessary parting of ways that should benefit each party equally. Sometimes it’s as simple as that.
So no, things didn’t work the way we thought when the Birds traded up for Carson back in 2016, at least not over the entirety of this half-decade. But the 2017 season alone was worth it all, and without his contributions that season, I don’t think the Eagles win the Super Bowl.
2017 was not a fluke, #Eagles Carson Wentz just played with confidence.
For whatever reason, that confidence is now lost. pic.twitter.com/j7lcZrFTkS
— Luke Stansfield (@Luke_StansNFL) February 15, 2021