PHILADELPHIA – Between the final minute of the Philadelphia Eagles’ sixth consecutive victory to start the 2022 season and his return to the locker room, head coach Nick Sirianni did plenty of yelling.
First at the Dallas Cowboys and the referees for the extracurricular shoving that took place with the outcome decided in the 26-17 victory on “Sunday Night Football.” And then, in the tunnel of Lincoln Financial Field, to nobody in particular.
“How ’bout them Eagles!” Sirianni shouted while coming off the field. “How ’bout the Eagles!”
So, about these Eagles – they play in the image of their coach’s actions and words. That’s something the city of Philadelphia, enjoying the spoils of sports success between an undefeated NFL squad and the Phillies playing for a pennant, can support.
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“What’s so cool about Philadelphia is it’s such a great sports town that it matters here, and it matters nationally here, and it’s great to be able to put that on display,” Sirianni said Sunday.
Eagles center Jason Kelce said successful clubs adopt the mindsets of both their coach and the city for which they play.
“Teams tend to embody the energy and what’s being emphasized,” Kelce said. “I think, obviously, Nick does a tremendous job of coaching every single play, every single day of trying to get better. He’s certainly very, very hungry. So that usually leads to a staff and players that are really, really hungry. I think teams take on the mold of both of those.”
One mantra the team has assumed is: Who’s toughest, longest?
For quarterback Jalen Hurts, that means staying the course and playing for each other – something Sirianni preaches. The Eagles jumped out to a 20-point lead Sunday, only to see that margin slim to 20-17 in the fourth quarter. Right tackle and team leader Lane Johnson exited just before halftime with a concussion.
“But we didn’t waiver from what we wanted to accomplish,” said Hurts, who stopped at each teammate’s locker following Sirianni’s post-game speech to offer a word of thanks. “We trusted in each other.
“Don’t flinch. Keep going. I think that was a great display of controlling what we could.”
As the last unbeaten team in the NFL, they won’t pay much attention to the outside attention, Kelce said.
“I think everybody gets caught up in what – the media always wants to say who’s the best team, who’s playing the best,” Kelce said. “I think the reality is that you need to realize this is a marathon. This is not a 100-meter dash. This is a 17-game season plus playoff games.
“Who can keep going? Who can keep coming together?”
Sirianni said that for all of the chemistry the Eagles have displayed already, they will continue to work on growing closer.
“Our greatest motivation is each other. … The motivation of not letting your teammate down, coach to player, player to coach, player to player, coach to coach,” Sirianni said. “That’s love. That’s the love you have for your teammates, and there is no greater motivation.”
What had Sirianni fired up in the first place Sunday (NBC’s cameras caught him shouting an expletive or two) was a scuffle that broke out between the two NFC East rivals with less than a minute remaining when a Dallas defender tackled Kelce after the whistle.
“I’m sure we weren’t angels in that confrontation right there,” Sirianni said. “I’m sure we had something to do with that as well. … I’m just going to stick up for our guys. I love these guys. This is my family.
“I know they know I got their back. I know they got my back, and that’s what a team is.”
Follow Chris Bumbaca on Twitter @BOOMbaca.