With the Philadelphia Eagles playing the New Orleans Saints in the divisional round of the playoffs on Sunday, one thing is certain: Saints fans are tired of hearing the term: “Nick Foles Magic.” The Eagles’ backup quarterback took his team to the Super Bowl and won it last season. This year, here he comes again, off the bench for Carson Wentz and trying to repeat his exploits from 2017-18 by winning three more games this postseason.
But before there was Nick Foles and a Philadelphia Eagles team about to invade the Superdome with a boat load of confidence and bravado, back in 2009 there was Kurt Warner Magic and a strikingly similar Cardinals team that came to New Orleans full of swagger, with a starter-turned-backup-turned starter quarterback on a magic carpet ride, looking to get back to the Super Bowl.
Kurt Warner Magic
The date was December 28, 2008 and the Arizona Cardinals, led by quarterback Kurt Warner had just defeated the Seattle Seahawks 34-21 to improve their record to 9-7 and win the NFC West.
Despite their unimpressive regular season record, the Cardinals would make it all the way to the Super Bowl and come up just short against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Warner, the old gunslinger had resurrected his career from the failure of the end of his tenure in St. Louis, his lackluster stint as a backup to Eli Manning in New York and a brief backup role to Matt Leinart in Arizona. An eerie instance of the past foretelling the story of Nick Foles’ path in the NFL: From early success in Philadelphia to failures in St. Louis and Kansas City, before seeing the light again in Philly and leading the Eagles to victory in Super Bowl LII.
One year after appearing in the Super Bowl with Arizona, Warner like Foles this year, showed that he still had some tricks up his sleeve: The Cardinals won their second consecutive NFC West title with a 10-6 record and triumphed in an unbelievable 51-45 overtime Wild Card game against the Green Bay Packers. Surely, Warner and his angry birds were about to beat the odds again and find their way back to the Big Game.
If this sounds somewhat familiar to you, it should: this season, Nick Foles and the Eagles have similarly summoned the dark forces of magic again, narrowly making it into the playoffs and then defeating the favored Chicago Bears by the tip of Treyvon Hester’s fingers and Cody Parkey’s deadly aim when shooting for uprights.
Facing the Slumping Number One Seed Saints
Nine years ago, the New Orleans Saints stood in Arizona’s way back to the Big Dance. The number one seed Saints had peaked in week 12 when they demolished the New England Patriots 38-17 in the Superdome and improved to 11-0. After that game, the Saints lost their mojo: they miraculously won a 33-30 crazy game at Washington, and then squeaked past the Atlanta Falcons 26-23 at home. Now 13-0, they’d proceed to lose their last three games and limp into their bye week with a lot of pundits doubting whether they could ever recover their mid-season form. Stop me if this feels like a case of déjà vu.
Then came January 16, 2010: the Cardinals descended onto the Superdome armed with magic, strut and destiny, just like the Philadelphia Eagles will tomorrow. But the Saints, still reeling from their late season slump brought the wood. The frustration of three weeks of doubts both internal and external exploded on the Cardinals in a 45-14 rout.
Kurt Warner’s Magic was obliterated, as exemplified by this very legal hit by Bobby McCray after and interception by the late Saints great Will Smith. The Saints were en route for an extraordinary ride that would see them lift the Super Bowl XLIV trophy a few weeks later.
Ripe for the Taking?
Throughout this past week, I have heard fans and pundits alike talk about the Eagles and the Saints exactly the way they were talking about the Cardinals and the Saints in 2009: the Eagles have the momentum, they have that je ne sais quoi, and oh yes, they have Nick Foles and his long, hard and powerful magic wand. Meanwhile, the Saints have been playing a mediocre, flaccid brand of football. They’ve lost their way and are certainly ripe for the taking.
On the 16th day of the first month of the year 2010, the Cardinals believed they had the Saints right where they wanted them. Today, the Eagles believe that too.
What do you believe?
Do the Eagles have the Saints right where they want them?
This poll is closed
Nah: Everybody has a plan until the Saints punch them in the mouth
Yes: revenge is a powerful motivator and the Eagles have that
Doesn’t matter once they kickoff, the better team will win
The Saints are in the Superdome right? So No!
Muffulettas are delicious, Philly Cheese Steaks are meh