The Eagles will lose Sunday.
That is not a prediction. It is a sensation born of 50 years of rooting for them, except for the two years Michael Vick was our starting quarterback. It was too soon for forgiveness after his conviction for dog fighting.
Otherwise, from 1966 on, I was there, a few times at the Vet (uncomfortable in the 700 level), once at the Linc (in a suite), but usually watching at home with friends — or alone, because there were long stretches when my friends couldn’t bear the punishment of watching the Eagles play. Remember how close we came to home-game TV blackouts because the Vet didn’t sell out? It’s hard to imagine that today with the massive, passionate fan base the Birds have built.
Almost as if to spite the football gods, who hate Philadelphia.
How else can you explain — with the talent on some of our teams — having been in only two other Super Bowls and getting ripped by Oakland in the 1980 game? We were favored to win because we had the NFL’s best defense.
Conventional wisdom says the Eagles froze in the Super Bowl’s glare. Quarterback Ron Jaworski disagrees. “I don’t think we were uptight,” he told me Tuesday, saying the team was confident and had a good game plan. What the team has to beware of, says Jaws, is “trying too hard.” He predicts the Birds will win, 29-21.
Jaworski might have been trying too hard when his first pass was intercepted. Football Hall of Fame writer Ray Didinger thought the interception jolted the team on the way to a 27-10 loss.
A mere 24 years later, in 2004, we were back — facing guess who?
That’s right, the dynastic New England Patriots, who were favored then and who are favored now. The Super Bowl is like sleep-away summer camp for them.
At quarterback, the Pats have a cyborg who has been in seven Super Bowls and won five rings. That’s a 70 percent winning percentage for Tom Brady.
Noble Nick Foles has had a few great games in his career. What are the odds that Sunday will be another?
I know this pessimism is tough to swallow, especially for millennials, who are optimistic and who haven’t been here before. They don’t know better.
I am around people who lived through 1980 and 2004 and still have faith that this time it will be different, that this time the football gods will end our famine and (in the words of Eagles offensive lineman Lane Johnson) let the underdogs eat and finally get that Super Bowl monkey off Philly’s back.
Third time’s the charm? That’s what I thought about my third marriage.
The football gods love toying with Philadelphia. How many times have the Eagles (and the Sixers, Flyers, and Phillies) blown in our ear and then broken our hearts?
As Randy, the Dallas-rooting character in Silver Linings Playbook, says about the Eagles: “They get close and then they blow it.”
We’ve seen this movie before, and I don’t mean Silver Linings.
Ray Didinger expects a low-scoring Super Bowl, but one that the Eagles will win.
I greatly respect his opinion, especially after he spent many years at the Daily News, but I see a calm Patriots team that has been there many times, led by the NFL’s best quarterback, guided by a shrewd gnome in a hoodie — and the fickle football gods who hate us.
It’s nice to dream, but I am a realist.
If the Eagles win and the underdogs eat, I will eat this column.