Philly’s Season Is Over Because There Is No More Peanut Butter In The Cupboard

By Gregory Moore
Updated: December 24, 2004

SAN ANTONIO – You have to feel for a Philadelphia Eagles fan. Well you do if you not a Dallas Cowboys fan. That career ending injury put on during Michael Irvin’s last year in the league still haunts many of us.

The fact that Terrell Owens tried to humiliate a storied franchise by standing on the middle of the star a few seasons later doesn’t endure him to anyone. Yet you don’t want to see anyone have a season ending injury when they and their new team are doing so well.

But then again, like I said, if you are a Cowboys fan, you simply don’t mind it happening to a division rival. Okay I am digressing from the topic at hand for a moment. This piece isn’t about the wayward Eagles fan who being hated by a disgruntled Cowboys fan. No what this is a piece about a franchise like the Eagles, being hit once again by the injury bug at a crucial point of their season and it’s like a time continuum for them.

Their star player is hurt and he may not be available until late in the playoff run. The problem is that Owens is the injured player, not Donovan McNabb. The problem that Andy Reid and others are facing is the fact that when Owens was playing, he was the peanut butter to a good sandwich.

He was the glue that held everything together. Now with him out, that sandwich that everyone just loved to have doesn’t taste the same. In essence the Eagles fabulous run for a Super Bowl title is in serious jeopardy because there is no “peanut butter” in the cupboard for the long task at hand.

Now this may seem very simplistic to use this analogy but it is the only one that fits this team so well. Follow me for a moment as I link a sandwich to the plight of the Eagles. Let’s say that you want to make a good peanut butter and jelly sandwich to have with your glass of milk. So you go into your kitchen cupboard and pull out the jar of peanut butter, you reach into the refrigerator and grab the jelly and milk, and you rich into the breadbasket for your bread.

You pull out a plate to put your sandwich on and you grab a tall glass for your milk. You’re all set right? So the first thing you do is that you layout your bread on the plate. You grab a knife and spread the peanut butter on one slice, wipe the knife clean (we do not mix peanut butter and jelly; you want that mix, buy it in the jar at the store), and then spread your jelly on the other slice. You put the two together to make the sandwich, pour yourself a tall glass of milk and prepare to enjoy.

Simple enough huh? Okay now let’s say that as you make that sandwich, you find out that the peanut butter you were going to use has some foreign objects in it from someone dropping it on the floor. No problem, you will just make a jelly sandwich. Okay so you reach for the jelly and find out that it’s that jalapeno jelly spread you bought a year ago.

Okay, you didn’t want a sandwich anyway; you’ll just eat a slice of bread and drink a glass of milk. You see that the bread is stale and moldy. The milk is sour. As a matter of fact the plate and glass isn’t clean. What do you do? You either put everything back and start over or you just say the hell with it.

Now let’s insert the Eagles into that analogy. Terrell Owens is the peanut butter. Brian Westbrook is the jelly. The bread is Donovan McNabb. The plate and glass, that is the Eagles defense as a whole. The plate is the playing field and instead of you coaching, it’s Andy Reid. When Reid began making his sandwich he had all the pieces necessary to make a great sandwich.

He did until his peanut butter (Owens) ended up being chipped. Right now Reid is looking at his jelly and bread hoping that they will be just fine for his sandwich and he is hoping that his glass and milk are fresh and ready to go. Ladies and gentlemen that is the season of the Eagles and it is probably going to get worse.

It could get worse because every season for the past three seasons, this franchise has had to deal with an injury to a key player and they have never had anyone else step up and take pressure off of the star player. This year was the first year where this team actually had somebody who was a buffer for McNabb and he was allowed to help make others better.

But here’s the problem that they are now facing. With Owens out, this team is so exposed as one-dimensional that it’s dangerous. It’s dangerous because a well-seasoned team who has playoff experience will exploit the Eagles for what they are without Owens; Donovan McNabb all by himself.

Like the sandwich, the Eagles rely on each other. What makes that sandwich analogy work so well in sports is because when you are talking about a game like football, there really isn’t no one superstar on a team. In reality there is probably one or two novas on the roster but everyone else on that roster is a star in their own right.

What Reid and other coaches must do is become the cook and put together an appetizing food entrée that will not only look good but also have people coming back for more of the same. Right now this entrée that Reid is trying to feed Eagles fans will not have the same taste as it did before T.O.’s injury. That is the reality of the situation right now. Right now the Eagles need someone who cannot only help others but they need someone beside McNabb to step up and take up the torch that Owens carried for so long.

So who is the player that needs to step up? Several come to mind for me. To begin with the wide receiver corps of Freddie Mitchell, Chad Lewis and Todd Pinkston needs to seriously step up to the challenge at hand.

“Fred Ex’ has been nothing more than an overpriced mail carrier next to Owens. Lewis has been a no show and Pinkston needs to either go start shopping at Lane Bryant and join the cheerleaders or step up and start catching passes that are just down right within his range of play.

Westbrook has been solid but Dorsey Levens needs to just come with it and help this team with some veteran leadership. The defense now needs to play like it should and Reid needs to coach like he is a championship coach.

The bottom line right now is that there is no room for error and no time to start thinking about what could have been a great season. This team is in position to not only make it to the NFC championship but also possibly be in Jacksonville in eight weeks or so.

What the Eagles must realize now is that in order for them to the be the perfect cuisine entrée, they must now come together and do what is necessary to not only show up in Jacksonville, but also win. Even a peanut butter and jelly sandwich can be as good as a filet mignon at Morton’s if it’s done right.

The question for the Eagles is simply this: is your season over because you ran out of peanut butter or can you just alter the ingredients and make a great jelly sandwich with the remaining ingredients. The coming games will tell us the story.