Why is it that certain Pro Bowl talent players flop when they come to Philadelphia? Whether it's through the draft, or via free agency, it happens enough to notice. Is it too much cheesesteaks? Soft pretzels weighing the player down? Must be the wooder laying heavy? The food scene may be partially to blame - but an overlooked reason may be due to the tough, brotherly love nature of the city. Some players aren't cut from the cloth that can handle our fan base. The mental fortitude to handle the good times and the bad with our fan base is something that Howie Roseman and the front office need to take into consideration when evaluating players moving forward.
Before we get into why this matters, I want to acknowledge that the Eagles do most certainly evaluate a player's response to adversity. However, with a city so passionate about our Eagles, they have to understand what it truly means to be a Philadelphia Eagle, and what makes the city so tough?
So what makes Philly so tough? A city nicknamed "The City of Brotherly Love" gets a misconception. Brotherly love is tough love and when you do well on the field, we are behind you cheering 100%. If you are playing poorly with a true lack of effort, you will be booed. No matter what, as long as you give it your all and understand the fan base - the city will always have your back. That is brotherly love. Certain personalities are too weak and crumble under the pressure. As the pressure mounts, human nature is fight or flight. Not only do you have to deal with the Philadelphia market, but given the size of our sports market, the national media then catches on. Pressure builds, and we see who fights.
Why Should This Matter During Player Evaluations?
Again, of course every player's mentals are evaluated, especially in the draft process. The testing of how well one handles and responds to adversity should be 1b to how skilled the player is. The Eagles have hit home runs with guys who throw touchdowns with torn ACLs. We have superstars who suit up being only one week removed from lacerating their kidney. Currently, the leaders on the team suit up for every play they physically can, and embrace the city's culture. The young talent the front office brings in needs to keep that same energy, to be able to continually compete for championships. How can the front office test a player's ability to handle the Philadelphia fan base? Easy -- boo him as soon as he walks in the interview.
All jokes aside, I believe the best way to do so is actually similar to how I believe the Miami Dolphins treated a number of their Combine interviews. A story recently came out that Tua Tagovailoa felt uncomfortable in his interview with the team, almost like they didn't even want him. Creating awkwardness and friction in real-time is an inventive way to test for a player's ability to handle the adversity. If the player comes out and states that he "doesn't even want to go there anyways" the team then knows that the individual isn't cut out for the culture.
The Eagles are currently set to have 10 picks in April's Draft. Roseman and company will need to find a handful of players that can handle the adversity Philly fans give to their players. If a player gets thrown off their game when he hears booing after a bad play, then he needs to be off of the Eagles' big board on draft weekend.