Eagles owner addresses media

DAVID MAIALETTI / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Jeff Lurie purchased the Eagles in 1994. The team has won consistently, but not the ultimate prize.
DAVID MAIALETTI / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Jeff Lurie purchased the Eagles in 1994. The team has won consistently, but not the ultimate prize.
Posted: August 01, 2014

FOR THE longest time, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie would meet with the media during training camp to deliver his annual state of the franchise address.

They were informative, but they never seemed to play out that well.

Who can forget his "gold-standard" remark that always would come back to haunt Lurie each time the Birds failed to deliver a Vince Lombardi Trophy?

Lurie's last formal state-of-the-team address occurred 2 years ago during the Eagles' final training camp at Lehigh. He since has opted for more informal sessions with the media, such as yesterday's impromptu gathering that just happened to pop up.

A couple of reporters saw Lurie coming off the practice field at the NovaCare Complex and asked him some questions. Then other reporters saw the Eagles owner talking, and suddenly a small chat became a state of the Eagles news conference.

Lurie didn't seem to say anything outrageous, but as with anything concerning the Eagles, interpretations are in the eyes or, rather, ears of the beholder.

"Get better every day," Lurie said when asked about his goals for training camp - the second under the regime of Chip Kelly. "Getting better every day is my expectation - July 31 to be better than on July 30.

"I feel really good. I feel lucky to have a coach and coaching staff that is really dynamic, a young general manager [Howie Roseman] who I think is outstanding and a young president [Don Smolenski] who is terrific and brings everybody together. It's lucky for me as an owner because not all owners get that.

"I feel we have an excellent young team that needs to get better. Stay humble, get better, practice hard. It's not that complicated."

Perhaps in the two decades since he purchased the Eagles, on May 6, 1994, Lurie has learned how nothing said is ever forgotten by a fan base that is still waiting for its first NFL championship since 1960.

In '94, Lurie was a self-admitted football geek who had borrowed nearly all the $185 million he needed to buy the Birds from Norman Braman.

He was a 42-year-old hotshot with a new toy and big dreams so he probably never thought twice about what he said when he told Eagles fans the goal was to win "multiple" Super Bowls.

Now at 62, with 12 playoff appearances, seven NFC East titles, five NFC Championship Game appearances, one Super Bowl date but no Super Bowl wins, Lurie is a bit more reserved about making promises about championships.

It's not that Lurie has lost any of his passion for winning a Super Bowl, but a two-decade ride that has taken him close to the precipice many times only to come up short has given him the experience to know just how difficult it is.

"I'm obsessed with it," Lurie said of winning a Super Bowl. "I think if you love the sport as much as I do, and you love this team and this city as much as I do, that's the ultimate goal. Until that happens, it's a hunger."

Some people are always going to question Lurie's commitment to winning a Super Bowl, but in all honesty, the team has simply come up short, not due to anything Lurie has or hasn't done.

Until you actually win a Super Bowl, there is always something more that you could have done, but in the overall evaluation, Lurie has done right by Philadelphia in his effort to bring a title here.

"I'm so emotionally attached and wear it everyday," Lurie said of trying to balance the emotional side of not having a Super Bowl crown with the logical side of how difficult it is to earn one. "You can get to that after the season. You say, 'In that championship game against St. Louis, if Troy Vincent hadn't been hurt, Correll Buckhalter hadn't got hurt, maybe we would have been in the Super Bowl that year.' That's looking back."

Lurie has 20 years worth of looking back. You cannot get as close as the Eagles have so many times without having a long list of mind-gnawing "what-ifs?"

And now, with the start of the 2014 season fast approaching, it is impossible not to make a comparison to the start of the most successful era of Lurie's tenure.

Kelly actually has one-upped former coach Andy Reid because Reid needed until his second season to make the playoffs and his third to win his first NFC East title.

Kelly did both in his rookie campaign so it is hard to tamp down expectations that he could make a run similar to Reid's, when the Eagles made five straight playoff appearances culminating and advanced to the Super Bowl in February 2005.

"It's a little bit like that, I think," said Lurie, without saying the same path will be taken. "I've thought of it. You've got a very young team and a new coach and coaching staff in their second year. You've got a young quarterback [Nick Foles] coming off an outstanding first season. So there are some similarities.

"But you just don't know. I'm just excited about what we can become. I just think this is a great group of guys. They're outstanding young men who are really committed. They have a head coach and GM that are obsessed. It's a good situation."


Email: smallwj@phillynews.com

Columns: ph.ly/Smallwood

Blog: ph.ly/DNL

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|