Eagles fans have been through a lot over the years. They’ve seen their fair share of ups and downs and, eventually, triumph.
But for all of the happiness and glory, there have been some dark days as well. Indeed, it looked as though that maiden Lombardi might never make its way to Lincoln Financial Field.
Before the turn of the millennium, the Boys in Green only made it to the Big Game just once in the franchise’s storied history. That came way back in 1981 when the Oakland Raiders handily knocked off their competitors by a score of 27-10 and made their way back to California with the fabled trophy in tow.
Eagles fans would have to wait over two decades for the next trip to the big one.
The Long Wait Comes to An End
We’ll have more on that particular visit later on, but the long, long wait for success came to an end at the culmination of the 2017 season. Throughout the course of the campaign, the Eagles announced themselves as contenders despite not winning a postseason game in almost a decade. Throughout the regular season, they amassed an impressive 13-3 record, securing them top-seed status in the NFC.
Once the postseason got underway, both the Atlanta Falcons and the second-seed Minnesota Vikings proved to be no match, with the latter of those being decimated 38-7 in one of the most lop-sided NFC Championship games in history. Then came the small matter of the dynasty-like New England Patriots. The Gillette Stadium side had reached the AFC Conference Championship game in each of the last eight seasons, converting three of those appearances into Lombardis. But with backup quarterback Nick Foles firing on all cylinders, the Eagles managed to claim a 41-33 victory against all odds in one of the best Super Bowls ever played.
Last season, it looked as though a second Lombardi would be on its way to the Linc. However, despite Jalen Hurts delivering one of the greatest Big Game performances of all time, they would eventually succumb to a last-gasp defeat to the Kansas City Chiefs. But the Eagles have bounced back in scintillating fashion, going 8-1 throughout the first ten weeks of the new campaign, prompting an NFL sportsbook to install them as the +550 third favorites to go all the way once more this term.
But up until that victory in 2018, it looked as though the Eagles would never win the Big One. Here are the three occasions they came the closest.
New England Hold Their Nerve at Super Bowl XXXIX
First up is the 2004 season, when the Eagles went up against the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. Andy Reid’s men were coming off a hot season with a remarkable run from unstoppable quarterback Donovan McNabb. But despite the superstar QB’s valiant effort – throwing for a mighty 357 yards and three touchdowns – the game proved to be one step too far.
As was the case back in February at State Farm Stadium, the Eagles held a ten-point halftime lead, and things were looking good. But as we all know, Tom Brady happened. The Patriots went on to score ten unanswered points in the fourth quarter, and the Eagles had to concede defeat to a narrow 24-21 defeat.
Cardinals win the NFC Championship at Eagles Expense
At the culmination of the 2008 season, the Eagles would be the bridesmaid but not the bride once more. Despite finishing the regular season with a record of just 9-6-1, they went on to stun the Vikings and the reigning champion top-seed New York Giants. That set up a conference championship game against the only team in the NFC with a worse record than the Eagles, the Arizona Cardinals.
Many had anticipated that it would indeed be Reid’s team that got the victory, but the game was far too close for comfort from the outset and throughout. McNabb was once again leading the charge, matched up against a rising star in Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner. The game was back and forth, with both teams putting up points left and right. McNabb managed to throw for 375 yards and three touchdowns – but alas, as ever, it wasn’t the Eagles day. They lost 32-25, and McNabb was left standing on the sidelines, helmet in hand, while the Cardinals celebrated their victory.
Greatest Show On Turf Lives Up To Its Name
At the turn of the millennium, the Eagles found themselves in a Conference Championship matchup against the St. Louis Rams. This was back in the days of McNabb’s early career when he was still finding his footing in the league.
He played well, throwing for 194 yards and a touchdown, but the Rams proved to be too strong. They won the game 29-24, and The Linc faithful were left with yet another loss to add to the list.