The Eagles have some of the same key pieces as they did when they won Super Bowl 52 in 2017, but it’s impossible to go five seasons in the NFL without some drastic changes.
In the five years between trips to the Super Bowl, the Eagles have experienced a change at quarterback and head coach, along with three consecutive years without a playoff win and plenty of uncertainty about the direction of the franchise.
If the Eagles can pull off their second Super Bowl victory in six years, the job Howie Roseman did will be viewed as a masterclass in how to re-tool rather than rebuild.
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Here’s a recap of what the Eagles have endured since winning Super Bowl 52.
2018: Injury concerns linger for Carson Wentz
Repeating is extremely difficult – it hasn’t been done in nearly two decades – but the 2018 season still qualified as a disappointment for the Eagles. Philadelphia finished just 9-7, sneaking into the playoffs and advancing past the Bears in the wild-card but seeing another injury affect QB Carson Wentz.
Wentz missed the last three games with a back injury, giving way to Nick Foles again as the franchise quarterback’s future became a bit cloudier.
The Eagles’ playoff success, including a near-miss against the Saints in the divisional round, kept expectations high heading into 2019.
2019: Division title, early exit
The Eagles chose to invest in Wentz despite the injuries, handing him a four-year, $128 million extension in June. At first, the deal looked like a solid commitment. Wentz actually turned in a strong season, starting all 16 games and setting a career-high with 4,039 yards with a career-low interception rate.
On the field, the success wasn’t what Philadelphia wanted. The Eagles won a fairly dreadful NFC East at 9-7, and their season ended with a 17-9 loss to the Seahawks in the wild-card round.
Wentz’s bounce-back season ended with a concussion in his first playoff start, and a roster that was aging in more areas than not entered the offseason with questions.
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2020: Wheels fall off under Doug Pederson
The Eagles made an effort to re-tool a stagnant roster in the offseason, adding to the defense by trading for Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay and signing DT Javon Hargrave.
The most curious move, however, was the second-round draft pick of QB Jalen Hurts. The Eagles insisted Hurts was Wentz’s backup, but reports have detailed how Wentz began looking over his shoulder at Hurts in 2020.
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The 2020 season looked in many ways like the 2012 season that ended the Andy Reid era. The Eagles finished just 4-11-1 as the offense fell apart and morale dipped. Wentz stunningly threw 15 interceptions in just 12 starts before he was benched for Hurts in December. The defense, meanwhile, allowed 20 or more points in all but one game.
The Eagles parted ways with DC Jim Schwartz shortly after the season ended, and the franchise made the tough call to fire Pederson the following week.
Despite winning the franchise its first Super Bowl three years earlier, dysfunction between Pederson, Wentz, and the front office cost the well-respected coach his job.
2021: Wentz and Pederson out, Hurts and Sirianni in
The Eagles entered the 2021 season with expectations of a rebuilding year. After hiring 39-year-old Nick Sirianni as their head coach and trading Wentz to the Colts, Philadelphia shied away from major moves despite the 4-11-1 record in 2020. That was enough to spark a turnaround.
The Eagles went 9-8 in 2021, earning the NFC’s final playoff spot and coming up short against the Buccaneers in the wild-card round. While they weren’t competitive in the playoffs and mostly picked up their wins against inferior teams during the regular season, the year was much better than most expected with so many questions up and down the roster.
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Hurts showed flashes that indicated he could be the Eagles’ franchise quarterback, but the jury was still out on the former Oklahoma quarterback thanks to a few rough performances.
2022: Active offseason paves way for Super Bowl run
There was no doubt the Eagles had talented roster heading into the 2022 offseason. Between arguably the league’s best offensive line, the emergence of DeVonta Smith in the receiving corps, and the development of some young pieces on the defense, the roster could’ve returned to the playoffs as it was.
The burning question was whether Hurts could take that next step and become a franchise quarterback. Roseman decided to make it easier for him.
The Eagles were one of the most active teams leading up to the 2022 season, swinging a blockbuster trade for WR A.J. Brown on draft night while adding Haason Reddick, C.J. Gardner-Johnson, and James Bradberry to the defense. All three have turned out to be critical pieces of the defense this season.
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Philadelphia also made a major trade with the Saints, centered on draft picks. The Eagles landed an additional 2023 first-round pick in the deal, which led many to believe they could use the extra ammo to target a quarterback if Hurts didn’t pan out.
Fortunately, Hurts very much panned out, inserting himself into the MVP conversation. With two outstanding weapons and the offensive line clearing the way for a terrific running game, Hurts thrived and finished 14-1 as a starter.
The story arc can end with a championship on Sunday in Arizona, but there’s no doubt the Eagles have positioned themselves for long-term success with the moves they have made. If the last five years are any indication, though, there’s never any guarantee.