Philadelphia Eagles fans are a passionate bunch, and there's no two ways about it. And if there's one position on the football field that can best recognize that, it's the position that, regardless of the fan base, likely takes the bulk of the heat from fans, save for rare cases: the quarterback. And if there's one quarterback who knows that better than any other passer in the league, it might just be current Colts and former Eagles QB Carson Wentz.
In a recent interview with Colts writer Zak Keefer, Wentz divulged why he thought his reputation turned from "franchise savior" to not-as-nice words like "quitter" and, as Keefer points out, "villainous" and "sinful."
"To be blunt, that's Philly," Wentz said on why things got so bad. "That's just who they are. They're passionate. It made it a lot of fun for a lot of years playing there. They're always passionate. They're blunt.
"I think I was the same guy, giving it everything I could on the field and everything I could off the field to make a difference. I can only control who I am. I can’t let that type of stuff change me."
Here's a blunt statement: Wentz led the league in interceptions (15) and sacks taken (50), adding on 10 fumbles, while only playing three quarters of the season before he lost his job to Jalen Hurts. And while that can very understandably be a reason for fans to get mad and be frustrated, perhaps the extra venom and vitriol with which he was viewed did come from the particular nature of Philadelphia fans. It doesn't sound like he really minded it, though, adding that it made his Philly experience fun. But we can't imagine it was fun going through the messy breakup that ultimately led to his trade, and that might have shown him a different side to the fans' passion.
It's not like his journey in Indianapolis has been the smoothest ride either. It didn't take long — in fact, it occurred before the regular season even started — for the Indy media to angrily criticize him and offer to "help pack his bags" elsewhere, if needed. He's thrown costly interceptions, made bad plays and got off to a 1-4 start.
But perhaps getting through that phase has made him realize that Colts fans are just, well, different. Maybe they weren't as harsh. Maybe he didn't feel as much pressure. Maybe they kept supporting him, giving him a longer leash than a handful of Philly locals — though there were a lot of patient Eagles fans — and that's what has allowed him to step up in a big way lately. And maybe it's something entirely different, like his reunion with Frank Reich, which undoubtedly has played a big role in his return to form.
After the team's 0-3 start, Wentz has led the Colts to a 6-3 record, passing for 18 touchdowns and just four interceptions with a 99.9 passer rating. He's Pro Football Focus's No. 12 quarterback in the league over that span, a big leap up from when he was No. 23 across the first three games and No. 27 throughout 2020.