MINNEAPOLIS The Eagles dethroned the Patriots and along the way might as well have wagged their fingers in disparaging fashion at the Giants and the rest of the NFC East.
Let the stunning 41-33 victory in Super Bowl LII be a warning shot to new Giants general manager Dave Gettleman and new head coach Pat Shurmur, to 37-year old quarterback Eli Manning and star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. At this time last year, the Eagles were coming off a 7-9 season and a last-place finish in the division. A year later, they are a daunting, green obstruction that the new Giants brain trust must try to navigate around.
The question, posed by The Post prior to the Eagles winning their first Super Bowl in franchise history, to Howie Roseman was this: Are the Eagles poised to dominate the NFC East for years to come?
Slow down, cautioned Philadelphias executive vice president of football operations.
I think we got to take it year by year, Roseman said. After this game we have a challenging offseason like we always do. Weve got a lot of decisions to make. We just want to capitalize on this moment right now. Those big-picture questions well probably figure out at a later date.
The Eagles capitalized on this moment in breathless and prolific fashion, engaging in the most outrageous offensive eruption the Super Bowl has ever seen. That they did it with a backup quarterback, Nick Foles, speaks to their preparedness. That they did it with Doug Pederson, a second-year head coach, is a nod to their potential and a challenge to Shurmur, who inherits a 3-13 mess. That they did it with Roseman, who won a power struggle with since-deposed Chip Kelly to build a versatile and deep roster, is a nudge to Gettleman to get this right to get within hailing distance of the new Beasts of the East.
The Eagles appear capable of taking ownership of the NFC East the way no team has done for more than a decade.
I think its a little bit of the nature of the National Football League, Roseman said. Six of the eight playoff teams were not in the playoffs last year. Hopefully we can buck that trend going forward.
Roseman has his franchise quarterback, Carson Wentz, and a second-string quarterback (Foles) who was the MVP of the Super Bowl and a magnificent bargaining chip if the Eagles want to trade him and gain more talent. This was not the smoothest of rides for the Eagles and not only because they lost Wentz the favorite to win the leagues Most Valuable Player award before he tore up his knee on Dec. 10. The Eagles had to overcome season-ending injuries to left tackle Jason Peters, running back Darren Sproles, linebacker Jordan Hicks and special teams ace Chris Maragos.
To be in a position where one injury derails your ability to compete, we didnt want that to happen, so we wanted to make sure we build up as much depth as possible, Roseman said. Youve seen it that maybe in the past we would go for younger players, but here we brought in some veteran guys to fill those roles, because we felt like we had a good football team and we wanted to be able to have this next-man-up mentality where guys could come in and play at a high level, where maybe taking it on the chin wasnt as much as we had done in the past.
Can the Giants hope to compete with this Eagles powerhouse? Manning has two years remaining on his contract, and at his age, he will not be in position to battle Wentz for years to come. Thus, with the No. 2 pick in the draft, securing the quarterback of the future appears to be a necessity for Gettleman. Shurmur is reputed to be an excellent offensive mastermind, and he will call the plays in his first season as the Giants head coach. He has a track record, but will have to elevate his performance in order to rise to Pedersons level. Pedersons Philly Special play design direct snap to rookie running back Corey Clement, who pitches the ball back to backup tight end Trey Burton, who flips a touchdown pass to Foles was a thing of beauty.
So, the Eagles have thrown down the gauntlet. Can the Giants possibly find a way to pick it up?