“It didn’t look good at 5-5-1, but I was so sure we were better than 5-5-1 team,” he said. “What I never doubted was the quality of our coaching and the character of our players. There were a lot of close games we lost and you have to win those. But the fact they could come back from so many heartbreaking losses early in the season is remarkable.”
McNabb, who’s going to his fifth NFC Championship in 10 NFL seasons, is the touchstone for that resilience.
“He’s such a good leader,” said Lurie. “(Success) takes coming back from tough losses. It’s what every team is faced with.”
When asked about the change in his game since being benched against Baltimore, McNabb keeps saying he’s not playing any differently. Then he says he is, at least in terms of attitude.
“(It changed) after the Baltimore game (November 23) believe it or not,” he said. “We talked as a team. After the Cincinnati game (a 13-13 tie on November 16) we realized guys were pressing too much and that included myself. As a team we need to get back to guys flying around, supporting each other. We just fed each week off of that. We’re a much better team when we’re loose.”
It seems that, in order for a team to get loose, it has to play with blinders on, shutting out the negativity it brought upon itself. Some teams rally together when things are going bad. Others splinter.
“We stick together,” said Eagles linebacker Trent Cole. “We didn’t give up, we didn’t get bent out of shape and we kept fighting until something broke.”
What broke was the rest of the NFC. While the Eagles and the Cardinals got themselves fixed. And now these once-broken toys are meeting to see which one gets to the Super Bowl.
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