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The NFL Playoffs: It Shoulda Been Us

The only thing worse than the Eagles choking in the NFC title game is not making it at all

The NFC Championship Game just isn't the same when the Eagles aren't the losing team. But this year, I couldn't help but think the Eagles missed an opportunity to get there, and possibly even win it.

The Giants, who are representing the NFC in the Super Bowl, lost at home to a Vince Young-led Eagles team, 17-10, in Week 11. The Eagles also came within one point of beating the 49ers in Week 4. With all the talent the Eagles picked up in the offseason, they should've been playing on Sunday, and if it weren't for the chronic ineptitude of Andy Reid, Juan Castillo and Howie Roseman, they would have been.

I rooted for the 49ers, of course, mostly because I wanted to see David Akers get to another Super Bowl and prove Andy wrong for dumping him. Just as we all know Brian Dawkins taught Tim Tebow how to win, it's clear that Akers had the same effect on Alex Smith. Although unfortunately, Smith came down with a case of the McNabbs late in the game, once against costing Akers a chance at a Super Bowl.

(Speaking of #5, what the City of Philadelphia needed in 2012, more than anything else, was yet another rehash of the McNabb/T.O. feud. But what's with the Owens/Trotter dissension? Don't you guys realize it's important to keep up an anti-Donovan front?)

As for the Giants, I don't care how many comebacks he leads, games he wins, or Super Bowls he reaches. Eli Manning is still a loser and a choker, and always will be.

Meanwhile, it was reported after the game that, knowing his concussion history, the Giants intentionally targeted 49ers' kick returner Kyle Williams. That's the Eagles' problem! If they ever showed that sort of toughness and tenacity on defense, maybe they'd be in the Super Bowl. But they're not, and with the failure to reel in Steve Spagnuolo and the likely return of Juan Castillo, expect the titleless-since-1960 streak to continue.

As for the Patriots/Ravens game, I found it interesting that while Donovan was waived by the Vikings, wasn't claimed, and was last seen playing rec league basketball in Minneapolis, Ricky Williams is still active and played in the AFC Championship game. I guess maybe the Dirty 30 had a point after all.

What's my Super Bowl pick? Now that the Patriots don't have Asante Samuel to blow crucial plays against the Giants like last time, I expect an easy New England victory.

Other Philly sports takes:

- Rest in peace, Joe Paterno. Don't believe the "lung cancer" explanation- he died of a broken heart, and was also murdered by the media. If there's one lesson to be learned from the last few months at Penn State, it's that boards of trustees have too much power. Also, whenever Andy Reid passes, I've got a feeling flags in Pennsylvania will remain at full mast.

- Speaking of which, Angelo made a really astute point last week about the complex duality of Paterno's legacy. If you're looking for it in the podcast archives, I think it was right before they had on the Wing Bowl contender who eats glass.

- Man, remember when Howard Eskin was the most important guy on WIP? Now he's not even the most important Eskin on WIP.

- As for the King's ex-partner, I heard the station sent Ike Reese down to Clearwater. Guess they didn't have the heart to tell him that spring training doesn't start for another four weeks.

- It was an all-time great Flyers moment when Bernie Parent played a few minutes in goal in the Winter Classic and even got some saves. But when it comes to career highlights, that was nothing compared to Bernie judging this year's Wingette competition last week, along with Mark Farzetta.

- And on the same subject, Wing Bowl signing up Jenna Jameson as a Wingette may be Philadelphia's greatest personnel coup since the acquisition of Roy Halladay.

- Stu Bykofsky made an excellent point in his column earlier this month, when he wrote that Tim Tebow's religious beliefs were a main cause of the 9/11 attacks. Or maybe he was talking about people who don't like Tim Tebow. Anyway, either way, good column.

- I'm loving the "Great Sports Debate" reruns from the early '90s on CSN. Who knew that in 1993, Jaromir Jagr and Jayson Stark had the same haircut? Or that Glen Macnow had a haircut at all? But they should probably just go ahead and burn the tapes of any episodes that Conlin appeared on.