Hines Ward: Super Bowl Hangover Is Real; Philadelphia Eagles Struggling

The Eagles (3-4) have lost four games by a combined 15 points this season

Reiter Than You
October 29, 2018 - 7:36 am

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After winning their first Super Bowl title in franchise history last season, the Philadelphia Eagles expected to win the NFC East and repeat as Super Bowl champions.

While both of those goals could still happen, the Eagles (3-4) haven’t gotten off to the best start. They’ve lost four games – to the Buccaneers, Titans, Vikings and Panthers – by a combined 15 points.

Is the Super Bowl hangover a real thing?

“It’s definitely real because now you have the target on your back,” two-time Super Bowl champion Hines Ward said on Reiter Than You. “Everybody’s giving you their best, even the teams that don’t have a great record. They’re coming out and playing their best because they want to compare themselves: Let’s see how good we are against the defending Super Bowl champions. So week in and week out, you got to come bring your Triple-A game, not just your A-game. You got to come out because these teams are matching the intensity and they want to show their best against the defending world champions.”

There’s also a natural letdown after getting to the mountaintop.

“I kind of think sometimes you lose that hunger that you had in order to get to a Super Bowl,” Ward said. “And what a great story the Philadelphia Eagles were last year going on the run and then of course Wentz gets hurt and then Nick Foles comes in and rallies the troops and leads them all the way to the Super Bowl."

Which is why there’s added pressure on Wentz, who has completed 70.8 percent of his passes for 1,502 yards, 10 touchdowns and one interception in five games.

“Yes, they won the Super Bowl, but even though he was on the team, he felt like he wasn’t a part of the team,” Ward said. “So there’s added pressure on Wentz to go out there and get the job done, and I just think sometimes you rush him back from a major knee injury like that and you’re forcing the issue rather than letting the game come to yourself. But it’s still early. At the halfway point, you kind of figure out your identity as a team, who you are, what you do good and what you don’t. From there, you build on there with some divisional games. 

“So I think for Philadelphia, they’re still in the hunt in their division,” Ward continued. “So now it’s just taking it week by week, and then come October, November, that’s when real football starts.”

The Eagles play the Jaguars (3-4) this Sunday in London. Kickoff is at 9:30 p.m. ET.