THAT JUST HAPPENED: New Orleans Saints vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Bills fans are kindred spirits with Eagles fans in that neither team has ever won anything of consequence. That’s about where that comparison ends. Philadelphia is a great American city full of history and wealth. They mint money there. They built their own freaking White House to seduce George Washington. Their baseball team won it all a few years ago. They can go to hell as far as I’m concerned. They aren’t one of us.

See what happened there? What playoff football does to me as a Bills fan is bum me out. The Buffalo Bills haven’t made the playoffs in 14 years. They got close. Once. And it turned out they couldn’t beat a bunch of backups. They haven’t gotten close since. They are nowhere near a playoff team right now.

masksBut hey, playoff football is great. The games themselves are much better than ordinary football. Even the Bengals/Chargers Cavalcade of Derps was more aesthetically pleasing than ordinary football because the game actually meant something. Win or go home makes for good theatre, even if the actors can’t stick to a decent script.

General ineptitude isn’t fun to watch. Being Bills fans, we already know that. Seeing a team qualify for the postseason and immediately being found wanting is horrifying, but somehow entertaining. The entropy was delicious.

That wasn’t the case in Philadelphia on Saturday night. Losing on a late field goal doesn’t mean you don’t belong in the playoffs. The Philadelphia Eagles were not embarrassed off their home field. They played a tight game against a team that hasn’t won much on the road this season.

The Saints finally got one. Drew Brees is pretty good, and the now-classic Saints tactic of spreading the ball around and relying on one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history to do his thing. He did it, and Nick Foles and company go home to think about what they did.

The Saints have been fascinating to watch this season. They’ve played some truly horrible games, such as an embarrassing loss to the Rams. They choked away a game against the Patriots that still doesn’t make any damn sense. They’ve enjoyed the tremendous play of Jimmy Graham, despite a major injury. And they have Drew Brees. If they had a defense, they would be the Seahawks. They were still good enough to make it out of Wild Card weekend.

A playoff appearance and NFC East championship is a pretty good showing for a coach people are still convinced doesn’t belong in the NFL. I think Chip Kelly is smart. I like what he’s done with the Eagles. I think they will be good for a long time because Philadelphia has supremely talented players at important positions.

No, I’m not talking about Nick Foles. I mean LeSean McCoy, who is a joy to watch play football, despite the horrifying potential of injury floating over every play he makes. Shady doesn’t have the Sword of Damocles floating nearby, he’s throwing knives at the thread it’s hanging by while trucking dudes in the secondary. It’s awesome to watch, but I want to see him live a long, fulfilling life and I think football will prevent that. That’s also a bit of a bummer if you ask me.

realityI think about injuries a lot when it comes to football. I think old white guys bemoaning a football player’s lack of toughness is one of the dumbest things about sports. I can barely handle sports commentary as it is. The moment someone questions the toughness of someone trading in life points for scoreboard points every Sunday is the moment you lose all credibility as both a sports person and compassionate human being.

But anyway, the Eagles are talented. They will continue to be talented and figure it out with Nick Foles. Or maybe not. I don’t think the quarterback was really what made the Eagles work this season. I doubt he will repeat the ridiculous statistical season that he had this year, but I suppose they need something to talk about on ESPN during the summer months, so whatever.

I’m also not completely sold on the Saints making it happen as a Wild Card team this year. They’ve good, and Drew Brees is great, but that defense is a Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire waiting to happen. They can catch fire in a hurry, and even Drew Brees can’t score enough against a good Seahawks defense.

Still they, too, have a brilliant head coach and a team that looks to have a bright future. The Eagles have never won it all, but they are never truly terrible. They play in an overrated division against overrated teams and get lots of national attention. A first-round playoff loss isn’t the end of the world. In the words of John K. Samson, let their tiny feathers feel disappointment.

The Saints, meanwhile, will probably get rolled by Seattle in the loud house this weekend. But they have Brees. Maybe they will keep Jimmy Graham and draft a corner. They’ll be back. Everything in it’s right place. Including the Bills.

You know, probably.