The faces at the top are still the same. Bill Belichick will enter his 12th season with the Patriots in 2011 and just turned 59 in April.
Andy Reid will enter his 13th season with the Birds and turned 53 in April.
If you look at the rosters of the two teams, though, you'll be hard-pressed to find many familiar names from those Super Bowl squads.
You might remember from earlier this offseason that the Eagles could very well have zero players on their 2011 roster who played for that Super Bowl team. David Akers and Quintin Mikell were the last two standing, and both will likely be gone once free agency begins.
Sidenote: As Jimmy over at Blogging the Beast points out, Jamaal Jackson was technically on the 2004 team, although he spent the season on IR.
I took a look at how the Patriots' most recent roster compares to the one from 2004. As far as I can tell, New England had eight players on last year's squad that earned a ring against the Eagles: Tom Brady, Deion Branch, Matt Light, Dan Koppen, Ty Warren, Vince Wilfork, Tully Banta-Cain and Kevin Faulk.
Branch, who of course was the Super Bowl MVP with 11 catches for 133 yards, left New England and came back, so really the Patriots have seven players who have remained. Looking ahead, Faulk and Light are both free agents so that number could be reduced to five.
Brady is the strongest link and figures to be for several years to come. Since 2004, he's turned in two of the best regular seasons we've ever seen from a quarterback. In 2007, he teamed up with Randy Moss, tossing 50 touchdowns and eight interceptions for a QB rating of 117.2. And last season, Brady threw for 39 TDs and four picks for a rating of 111.0.
The biggest change on the Eagles' roster came last season when they dealt Donovan McNabb, and now they enter the next era with Michael Vick at the helm.
The two teams have combined for two playoff wins in the past three seasons. Here's a look at the Patriots' performance since 2004:
|2005||10||6|| Loss in div. round
|2006||12||4|| Loss in conf. championship
|2007||16||0|| Loss in Super Bowl
|2008||11||5|| No playoffs
|2009||10||6|| Loss in wild card round
|2010||14||2|| Loss in div. round
New England's made the playoffs in five of six seasons since 2004, and the Patriots have boasted a ridiculous .760 winning percentage. They've gotten to the Super Bowl once, but have not won a playoff game since that 2007 season.
Here's what the Eagles' record looks like:
|2005||6||10|| No playoffs
|2006||10||6|| Loss in div. round
|2007||8||8|| No playoffs
|2008||9|| 6 (1 tie)
|| Loss in conf. championship
|2009||11||5|| Loss in wild card round
|2010||10||6||Loss in wild card round|
The Eagles have made the playoffs in four of six seasons since the Super Bowl and have a .568 regular-season winning percentage. The most successful run was 2008 when they snuck in and then advanced to the NFC championship before losing to the Cardinals.
Going forward, the Patriots are the more stable franchise. Belichick has three Super Bowl titles under his belt, and you get the feeling he'll tell Robert Kraft when he's done, not the other way around.
Brady signed the big extension last September, and at 33 years old, appears to have at least a few more prolific seasons left.
Reid, meanwhile, has three years remaining on his contract. And as I've written many times, both he and the Eagles will likely have to make a decision on the future after 2012 to avoid Reid coaching on the final year of his deal in 2013.
Vick turned 31 over the weekend. While the Eagles appear to be in good hands if he can build off his 2010 campaign, the situation is far less stable than New England's. The two sides will need to come to terms on a contract at some point. And more importantly, Vick will need to continue to do the things that made him successful last season.
A couple quick links to share in regards to the lockout.
According to SI.com's Peter King, DeMaurice Smith and Roger Goodell appear to be playing nice. Goodell agreed to join Smith at the NFLPA Rookie Symposium, which observers are viewing as a very good sign.
And as he's done throughout the process, Andrew Brandt of the National Football Post explains where we stand and what still needs to happen for there to be football. Interesting note at the end of this column about free agency. Brandt says there could be a 3-5 day grace period where teams are allowed to talk to their own free agents. Nothing has been determined, but that's certainly something to keep an eye on as the process rolls on.