Carson Wentz and the Colts crashed out of playoff contention with a pitiful loss in Jacksonville on Sunday afternoon. It wasn’t even close. They got pretty much handled by the worst team in football. The entire Indy squad was horrendous.
Wentz, individually, was 17 for 29 for 185 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. He fumbled on the opening possession of the third quarter en route to a 26-11 loss. It looked like 2020 Carson out there, and like clockwork, these tweets saturated the feed:
@cj_wentz you fucking suck
— Jxlen Top5 🤴🏛 (@vJxlen) January 9, 2022
Everybody was dunking on Wentz and taking that victory lap. It was all over the timeline, and Eagles fans should absolutely celebrate the fact that the Birds won the Wentz trade and ended up with a solid first round draft pick for a guy who reportedly asked out. He didn’t want to be here anymore, and for that he deserves the criticism after being paid handsomely in Philadelphia and then essentially quitting on the franchise.
But there are levels to the game, and the irrational, seething, juvenile Carson Wentz hate from Eagles fans is corny. It’s not run-of-the-mill Philly sports fan ragging; it’s an obsessive and weird type of rancor, like it’s personal even though you don’t know the guy. He played quarterback for a football team, right? He wasn’t running up drug prices like pharma bro Martin Shkreli. He wasn’t your high school bully.
It’s absolutely true that Carson stunk up the joint in 2020, but we’re talking about the same guy who got the Eagles to 11-2 the year your team finally won the Super Bowl. People always say “he didn’t even play in the playoffs” as if we didn’t know that. Of course Nick Foles finished the job, but if you can’t recognize that Carson put Nick in a great position to secure home field advantage at the time of the baton passing, then I don’t know what to tell you.
For that reason, I can’t rip the guy too much, unlike the dumbest corner of Eagles Twitter. You’ve got grown men on there who go erect every every time Carson throws an incomplete pass, and then have to let everybody know about it on the world’s dumbest website. It amounts to goofy overkill.
Regardless of what Carson became, he’s a member of the only Eagles team to win it all, and therefore deserving of a baseline respect, be it begrudging or reluctant. He’s not Ben Simmons. He didn’t hold out and then come back two weeks later, only to half ass it on the practice court in order to get the paychecks going again. I see people comparing Wentz to Simmons and it isn’t even close. Only one guy contributed during a title-winning season.
And please, for the love of God, can we stop saying that Wentz loses to Brady in the Super Bowl? You have no fucking clue if he wins or loses that game. It’s a baseless hypothetical projection. Unless you have a crystal ball, then the only person who can say for certain whether or not Wentz wins Super Bowl 52 is Nostradamus, and he died in 1566.
In the same way nobody predicted Foles would go on the greatest two-game streak in Eagles franchise history, you can’t predict whether Carson would have won or lost that game. Pre-ACL tear Carson is not the guy we saw in 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021, so using the years AFTER 2017 to build your argument amounts to a pretty stupid version of revisionist history.
As a macro-level observation, it seems like some Eagles fans really struggle with the idea that more than one thing can be true at the same time, so I’ll lay it out for you:
- Wentz was electric during the Super Bowl year. 33 touchdowns and 7 interceptions in 13 games. He was a shoe-in for MVP before his injury.
- Foles was amazing in the playoffs. What a brilliant story, Big Dick Nick. He has a statue in front of the Linc.
- Carson’s injuries absolutely slowed him down.
- Even though he had poor skill players and a depleted offensive line on more than one occasion, there were plenty of boneheaded mistakes and missed throws from Carson. He didn’t do enough to help himself here.
- He won the division with practice squad players in 2019.
- He ultimately did quit on the team and asked out.
- He’s an anti-vaxxer? He’s a hunter? He’s religious? He’s certainly not the only one to be one or more of those things. People didn’t seem to have a problem with the latter two in 2017. Nick Foles was also a religious non-Philadelphian and Doug Pederson was “looking forward” to visiting Donald Trump’s White House. Philly fans overlook the cultural things they don’t like when players or coaches are winning.
- Carson’s not a terrible human being. He did a lot of charity work here and if you listened to the Malcolm Jenkins and Chris Long podcast, they corroborated reports that he wasn’t some cancer; he just needed to do a better job of communicating within the locker room.
So that list of items tells us what?
It tells us that you can appreciate Carson’s 2017 season and dislike everything else about him at the same time. It’s never an “either/or” type of thing. You could have been pro-Wentz and pro-Foles at the same time, despite the caveman-esque proclivity to “pick a side.” It’s something that even evolved human beings really struggle with these days. It’s like blaming one guy for something that was the fault of three different guys at the same time, where nuance is not applied or even worse, it’s completely ignored.
That’s the sad fact of the matter. Nuance is passé these days, because nuance renders useless these simpleton levels of social media bitching and moaning. That’s the main reason why the standard of Carson Wentz discourse makes Donovan McNabb-era 610 WIP look like the MIT Sloan Sports analytics conference. People just cannot accept the fact that things are never black and white, because that would require actual thinking. It would knock over flimsy narratives that only excerpt small portions of a full story, and Carson’s tale includes incredibly high highs and equally low lows.
Media gatekeeping of proper fandom is stupid, and that’s not the point of this column, nor is the point to be a contrarian. The point is to identify and call out low-level discourse that we should all want to see go the way of the Passenger Pigeon. We should all want to have intelligent and reasonable discussion, based on critical thinking and not on knee-jerk emotional reaction, which has been the unfortunate hallmark of the Delaware Valley for some time now, amplified by the talking heads who benefit from keeping their listeners dumb.
That said, ripping on Carson is fine. There can be no issue with that, because he quit. He asked out. But at the same time, he’s also a part of the only Eagles Super Bowl team ever, and his last act that season was throwing a touchdown pass on a torn-up knee. He put his body on the line for his squad and this city, which is what everyone around here respects and demands. Whatever you think about the guy, there can be no disputing that he left it out there on the field and took the hits, including a borderline questionable one from Jadeveon Clowney in the playoffs. That’s why the juvenile, obsessive, and non-stop insults go overboard. If you wanna have a laugh because the Colts missed the playoffs, go for it. Let’s take the victory lap because the Birds won that trade. But talking about the guy’s “neck zits” and/or logging into Twitter after every incomplete pass? That’s corn ball stuff, even for the troglodyte portion of this fan base.
*Yeah, Carson doesn’t play here anymore, but the reason we wrote about him a lot this season is because of the draft pick tie-in, based on the number of snaps he played. Everybody in the local media did it. You’ll probably hear exponentially less about him moving forward.