I flew into Philadelphia yesterday in time to watch the Eagles-Bears game with my family, one of those typically frustrating Eagles performances where they can’t seem to get any rhythm going, yet show flashes of brilliance, only to eke out an unsatisfying win or a disappointing loss in the fourth quarter.
Last night it was one of those unsatisfying wins, and in reading the headlines in the Philadelphia Inquirer’s sports section this morning I was reminded of Phillies hall of fame third baseman Mike Schmidt’s classic quip on the city’s demanding fans: “Philadelphia is the only city, where you can experience the thrill of victory and the agony of reading about it the next day.”
True to form, the Inquirer headlines were far from celebratory. “Birds claw back in fourth quarter, avoid a grisly loss.” “Stumble and fumbles mar win.” “In night air, whiff of desperation.” “Eagles lucky that Bears were worse.” Apart from the score, about the most positive thing the Philadelphia headline writers could manage was an eye-roll of a grudging acknowledgment: “At last, a comeback.”
Now compare that to the headline in the Seattle Times after the Seahawks’ thorough ass-whooping at the 40-year-old hands of Brett Favre: “Favre has masterful performance against Hawks.”
Yeah, sure, the Hawks lost 35-9, but Favre had a masterful performance, so what could they do?
My point is, if at times I come off as a little critical of our media… well… I come by it honestly. This is the way we were trained to celebrate a win, so just imagine the way Philadelphia responds to a loss. Don’t get me wrong… we love our Eagles. But it’s a tough love. A very tough love.
And as an inveterate newspaper reader, that’s exactly the same way I love the media.