As the Eagles put the finishing touches on an outstanding offseason and near-complete overhaul of the roster that began in 2020, it’s time for the entire fanbase to come together and do what’s right: Apologize to Howie Roseman.
I’m serious, Howie Haters.
Two years ago, Roseman was the most unpopular sports figure in town. The 2020 season was a disaster. The supposed-star quarterback Roseman moved heaven and earth to draft *and* overpaid years before he had to was in the midst of one of the worst seasons in NFL history. The roster had deteriorated. A new quarterback, Jalen Hurts, was instantly the most controversial pick in the Roseman era. Justin Jefferson was putting up historic numbers while Jalen Reagor looked lost. Doug Pederson lost his job. The Eagles hit rock bottom.
It was OK to be upset. It was OK to lay blame at Roseman’s feet.
But all the calls for Roseman’s job and declarations about bad draft picks, a mismanaged cap and the end of the Wentz era clouded a smart football city from the truth about the Eagles executive: No one cleans up a mess better, and no one else was as equipped to get this franchise back on track in short order. Sometimes change is necessary. Sometimes continuity is prudent. We know which path the Eagles chose, much to the chagrin of many fans. It was clearly the right call.
Ideally, there wouldn’t be a mess to clean up. In a perfect world, Roseman would lord over a dynasty. Mistakes would be minimal. Rebuilds would never have to occur.
That, of course, is silly and unrealistic. Every team, even in places where a “football guy” is in charge of the front office, misses on picks. Contracts go bad. Losing seasons happen. But bad franchises and poor general managers often can’t clean it up or take years and years to do it.
The Eagles aren’t one of those teams.
As the ink dried on James Bradberry’s contract, the eureka moment seemed to hit us all: Roseman had transformed the Eagles from one of the NFL’s worst teams to a legitimate contender within two calendar years. The Eagles are poised to be a good football team, and have a young core that should keep them in that position for years. A Super Bowl window has opened, and it’s almost solely due to big swings Roseman has taken to procure talent, identify the correct young players to build around, and the (actual) mismanaged front offices he clearly defeated in franchise-changing trades.
Here’s a partial list of players Roseman has brought into the organization since the 2020 draft: Hurts, A.J. Brown, Jordan Davis, Nakobe Dean, Landon Dickerson, Jack Driscoll, Kenneth Gainwell, Gardner Minshew, Haason Reddick, DeVonta Smith, Quez Watkins, Kyzir White, Milton Williams and Cam Jurgens. These are the new Eagles, and the group looks ready to meld with the old guard to form a group that can win the NFC East, host a playoff game, and give this city something to believe in again.
Roseman is a really good general manager. It’s been that way for a long time, even if his decisions post-Super Bowl were filled with mistakes. Good general managers can find solutions to issues, find talent in different places, win trades, and set up Super Bowl windows. The fact that Roseman has flipped this team so fast without landing a sure-fire, top-of-the-draft generational talent at quarterback makes it even more impressive.
The “Fire Howie!” takes never made sense, and look worse than ever in retrospect. I’m not sure if Philadelphia is truly a quarterback factory, but it is a front office factory. There’s a reason teams around the league pluck executives from Roseman’s tree. The NovaCare Complex is a football think tank, not all that different from Major League Baseball teams plucking executives from the front offices of the Dodgers and Rays. It wouldn’t be happening if Roseman’s cap management, talent procurement and overall team building wasn’t respected around the NFL.
A large portion of the fanbase wanted to fire the only general manager to ever bring a Lombardi Trophy here. That was a mistake, short-sighted and over the top. Good thing Jeff Lurie wasn’t listening because there’s almost no chance this franchise would be in as good of shape as it is now if an overall happened two years ago.
It’s OK to say it, even if you want to whisper it.
It’s time to do what’s right, and move forward with a clean slate.
It’s time for the apology you never thought you’d have to deliver.
Two years after a “FIRE HOWIE” banner hung from the rafters across the Schuylkill and within range for every WIP host to see while on air, it’s time for the collective apology Philadelphia never thought it would have to give.