Players and coaches say when you lose the Super Bowl, you never forget it. The loss burns all day and when you wake up, the punch in the gut starts over.
This is what the Eagles are dealing with, a week after losing a Super Bowl they certainly could have won.
The Eagles scored 35 points against the Chiefs — usually enough to win any game. The defense allowed 31 points, then add the seven points on the Jalen Hurts fumble, and you have a 38-35 heartbreaking loss.
While the disappointment will linger, there also is moving forward. Players and coaches are saying the right thing —the desire to regroup, work harder and smarter and prepare to make a similar run next season. No time for wallowing. Thirty-one other teams aren’t going to feel sorry for the Eagles.
Hurts was his usual serious self the other day when he wasn’t interested in talking about his impending contract extension. He instead wanted to talk about the learning experience — painful as it was — from losing to Kansas City.
- “I think there is definitely a lot to learn from it,” Hurts said. “I have had the opportunity to watch it and I think I’m going to move forward with all of those experiences in mind and try to use those things to better myself and grow and help the guys around me.
- “We’re going to definitely use that as an experience to take a step and move forward.
- “You have to look yourself in the mirror and assess it for what it is and do the things that need to be done to grow from it. I think that’s my mentality going on and I think that will be this whole entire team’s mentality moving forward.”
As the head coach, Nick Sirianni drives the team’s message. How he recovers from the devastating loss and approaches the offseason affects the entire organization.
Sirianni’s attitude is what you would expect — let’s get to work and get better each day.
- “The wisdom is that I think we were there,” Sirianni said. “We were close.
- “And all that does to me is make me hungrier to get back. And that’s about the last time you’ll hear me say get back because what you’re going to hear me say is we’re going to do it one day at a time, one day at a time, because that’s the right mindset.”
Sirianni’s starting point for 2023 is way better than the 4-11-1 team he inherited in 2021. He was unknown and untested, beginning his first head-coaching job.
The Eagles should go into next season as the best team in the NFC. Hurts likely will be the best quarterback in the conference, an excellent starting point for success.
Preseason predictions are fun but they are not definitive. Injuries are the great equalizer. The Eagles aren’t sneaking up on any team next season. There are many personnel questions marks as well as two new coordinators.
Winning in the NFL is never easy.
- “When you see the red and yellow [Chiefs’ colors] confetti fall or you have a piece of it stuck on your shirt, that you don’t think to yourself: I have to do everything I can to help our guys get back to this moment,” Sirianni said.
- “Maybe that’s not a wisdom thing, maybe that’s more of my drive and I know our players’ drive and I know Howie’s [Roseman] drive to be like, ‘Oh, my God, we were there.’
- “All that does is make you more determined, driven, to make that climb again, to get back to the top and hopefully stand at the top.”
Hurts’ success was gauged over the season but everyone you talked to said his vast improvement was due to his offseason work. He came into training camp looking like an improved and different quarterback.
Ending the season on a bitter loss should provide added motivation for another important offseason for Hurts.
- “I call them formative experiences. They are all teachable moments and you decide whether you want to learn from them or not,” Hurts said.
- “I really believe that and that is something that I control and that is something that every individual in this organization controls and how we want to respond from it and to it.
- “I think when you try and reassess everything after the fact, you have to understand that it’s a complete clean slate and you’re starting from Step One. When you start from Step One, everyone has to be on the same page with that.”
Hurts’ work ethic helps drive those around him. If the quarterback and clear-cut team leader is working daily to improve, his teammates should be inclined to follow.
Hurts is “hungrier than ever, starving for more.”
- “[I will] challenge myself to be the best quarterback, leader, man, I can be for my teammates, this city, and impact the people around me the right way.”