NFL Checkpoint: Eagles vs. Bills

Jack Moriarty, Sports Editor

About three months ago, many did not believe there would even be football due to the lockout, and the long labor disputes of the NFLPA (the Player’s Association). However, now the NFL season is in full swing, and everybody seems to have forgotten all of the troubles it took to get where we are today.

The “dream team.” These were the words all sports fans were hearing prior to the start of the NFL season. The “dream team” is in reference to the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles won the NFC East division last year, and they were supposed to have improved even more so than last year. The team is led by star quarterback Michael Vick, as well as the acquisition of Nnamdi Asomugha in the off-season who is said to be one of the best defensive backs in the NFL. The Eagles also acquired running back Ronnie Brown from the Miami Dolphins as well as Cullen Jenkins, the former defensive tackle of the Green Bay Packers. This team was already unstoppable last year, and now they are even better. Or are they?

It turns out that through five games, the Eagles have a pitiful record of 1-4. What happened to this “dream team?” Michael Vick has had over ten turnovers, the defense can not hold on to games, and coach Andy Reid is fighting to keep his coaching position. Some say this is the worst dream team ever. Who knows when they will improve, because their schedule only gets harder when they go on to face divisional rivals.

On the contrary, one of the least popular, and often forgotten about teams, has a 4-1 start to the season. That’s right, the unexpected Buffalo Bills have had a mere perfect season thus far with come from behind victories, a big win over their rival Patriots, and instant success with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and coach Chan Gailey.

Every person in the blue collar city of Buffalo has hope for the team at the beginning of every year, but the team always seems to come up short in some way. This is the franchise that went to the Super Bowl four years in a row, from 1990 to 1993, and lost all four Super Bowls. There have been dozens of heart breakers, and every year, some of the greatest fans in all of sports, come out to support their team with the mindset that hopefully one day, they can win a championship for legendary owner Ralph Wilson.

The team started the season last year at 0-8, and there was little hope for any success in the near future. Midway through last year’s season, the Bills cut their starting quarterback, Trent Edwards. The Bills were one of the worst teams in the NFL at that point, with what seemed to be no direction. Once Edwards was cut, they put the ball in the hands of Harvard graduate; Ryan Fitzpatrick. Nobody had really heard of him before, and fans were concerned about the future of the team. In the previous year’s draft, the Bills neglected to pick a quarterback because they had faith in Trent Edwards. Now this has come back to bite them, and their starting quarterback is mutually unheard of. However, Fitzpatrick led the team to four wins last year, and it was considered to be a rebuilding year. Now, the rest is history, and the Bills are 4-1 to start the season, with a team that clicks together very well, and never gives up in a game, even when down in the second half.

So far in this NFL season, there have been several surprise teams. The Eagles and Bills are just two examples of how extraordinary, and bizarre, this season has been. Who knows how the rest of the season will play out, but I can assure you that if you asked any NFL fan at the beginning of the season that after week five, between the Bills and Eagles, which team will have the 4-1 record, and which team will have a 1-4 record, almost all would responded with the 4-1 record to be that of the Eagles. That just shows you how one must expect the unexpected, and who knows who will walk away as the Super Bowl winner at the end of this season.