There were a couple thoughtful pieces in the paper this week regarding the Eagles' veterans, and how this year's playoff run might be the last big chance for these guys. For the six guys who've been to all five NFC Championships -- Donovan McNabb, Correll Buckhalter, David Akers, Tra Thomas, Jon Runyan and Brian Dawkins -- it's not unreasonable to suggest that this might be their final opportunity to add a championship to their resume/ legacy.
The playoff run has postponed the conversation about the futures of Thomas, Runyan, Dawk, and McNabb, one that I assumed would consume most of the month of December. Certainly these guys can't enjoy having their age and continued employment discussed in the press, but such is the plight of the professional athlete. This very well might be their last chance at a ring, and we may not see these guys in Eagles green next season.
The thing is, this isn't just the end of the road for the players. Turns out that a lot of the guys writing those end-of-the-road stories are facing similar situations in their own careers. That is, the press contingent following the the Birds is unlikely to look the same next season. In case you've missed it, the American newspaper business is in its final days. The Seattle P-I could go web-only this year; the New York Times is facing a cash crunch. For an industry that was going to collapse anyway (thanks to the introduction of new media options, as well as the crippling impact of Craigslist, blah blah blah), this global economic meltdown thing did not show up at an opportune moment.
Will Philly still have two daily papers next fall? Will the regional/ suburban papers survive? It's extremely unlikely that they'll all be there for the 2009 Eagles season, which means that some of your favorite writers (inasmuch as we have "favorite" writers) won't be on the beat, and certainly coverage will be scaled back across the board. This is probably the last hurrah for these dudes.
While I'm certainly not above the occasional criticism of the local media (yes yes, the ones I call blathermonkeys), I do appreciate their work and enjoy reading them every day. They will be missed. Join me in pouring some out for these guys -- it's been a great run for all of them.