When Carson Wentz tore his ACL in a 43-35 win over the Rams in December, the Philadelphia Eagles’ season, for all intents and purposes, was over. There was no way the Eagles could win a playoff game, much less multiple playoff games, without the likely league MVP.
Well, apparently they could.
With home wins over the Falcons and Vikings, the Nick Foles-led Eagles are back in the Super Bowl for the first time since 2004.
How is Wentz feeling right about now?
“Oh, man, that’s loaded. That’s a loaded question,” seven-year NFL veteran and Eagles Radio Network host Jon Ritchie said on Taz & The Moose. “When we went to the Super Bowl in the ’04 season, I had been on IR since the beginning of October, and everyone wanted to ask me, ‘How are you helping Josh Parry, the fullback who’s playing? Tell us about how selfless you are and how hard you’re working to make this team better.’ I didn’t want to talk about that. I didn’t want to be a good teammate at times when I was low. I was devastated by the concept that my team would be playing without me.
“There’s a phenomenon that occurs when you go on IR that no matter who you are, they try to keep you involved,” Ritchie continued. “You see Carson walking out with the cane with the team and that sort of stuff, but it’s never the same. You are valued for what you can do on the field. Period. And when you’re on IR, you can’t do anything on the field.”
At the time of his injury, Wentz had thrown for a league-leading and franchise-record 33 touchdowns. He also had just seven interceptions and had led the Eagles to an 11-2 record.
But now? Now he’s an afterthought.
“Carson Wentz should have been the MVP of the NFL this year,” Ritchie said, “and right now, he is a shadow in the training room of the Philadelphia Eagles. No matter how you cut it, no matter how they say they want to keep him involved, he is certainly struggling with this process. I know. I’ve been there. It’s awful. You want to do everything you can to make sure you don’t distract the team from the path that they’re on – and really, that’s the focus right now.”
Foles has performed well in Wentz’s absence, particularly during the postseason. He made just enough plays in a 15-10 win over the Falcons and was dominant against the Eagles, throwing for 352 yards and three touchdowns.
Wentz deserves at least some credit for that.
“They say he’s been talking with Nick,” Ritchie said. “They say he’s been in his ear on the sidelines and that sort of thing. Well, if that’s the case, then he has to keep it up because Nick has played incredibly during the playoffs. Nick has played Joe Montana-esque, and if Carson had something to do with it, he’s going to certainly keep doing it. But it hurts more than anything I’d ever felt when I had to watch my team play in the Super Bowl. You want to play. It just rips your guts out. You want to compete. You know you can do something. You know you would give everything – every ounce of everything you have – to change the game for your team, and yet you can’t. It’s a very helpless feeling.”