As Carson Wentz begins his next NFL chapter with the Indianapolis Colts, we have to wonder how Philadelphia Eagles fans will remember their former franchise quarterback.
The Carson Wentz era of Philadelphia Eagles football is over, so now we must reflect on the five-year run and analyze it for what it was.
Wentz was dealt to the Indianapolis Colts this past week ahead of his sixth NFL season to be reunited with his former Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich. While Wentz was an integral part of the 2017 Super Bowl championship team, he leaves behind an incredibly complicated legacy with Philadelphia, one that Eagles fans will argue among themselves for years to come.
Carson Wentz perhaps best embodies what happens when everything goes right
Wentz came to the Eagles as the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft out of North Dakota State. Despite his small-school status, Wentz emerged as an unquestioned starter as a rookie, facilitating the Eagles to trade 2015 starting quarterback Sam Bradford to the Minnesota Vikings. Though his highs in Philadelphia were undeniable, his inconsistencies always left us wanting more.
Through the first 13 games of the 2017 NFL season, Wentz was for all intents and purposes the league MVP. He quarterbacked the Eagles to an impressive 11-2 record, registering a career-high in touchdown passes with 33. However, a torn ACL in early December knocked him out for the season. That was when Nick Foles came in and tarnished Wentz’s Eagles legacy permanently.
Foles and the underdog Eagles went on a historic run, resulting in a Super Bowl 52 championship over the New England Patriots. As Foles and former head coach Doug Pederson went down in Eagles lore thanks to the Philly Special, Wentz had to walk by their statue every fall Sunday after that, trying to carry a declining Eagles team to victory. It was a losing battle he could never win.
Wentz could never truly recover from that Super Bowl run. He never played a full playoff game in Eagles uniform. Fate would have it Foles came in and beat the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field next January while Wentz was on the mend. Even letting Foles walk in 2019 NFL free agency to the Jacksonville Jaguars did not do enough to change the narrative in Philadelphia surrounding Wentz.
Wentz got hurt in the NFC Divisional Round playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks. The ageless Josh McCown came in to at least make it a game. All the while, you could just tell Philadelphia was quickly falling out of favor with Wentz. With one inconsistent performance after another, Wentz was losing the locker room as fast as he was the Eagles fanbase. Then, 2020 happened …
From there, Wentz had the worst year of his career. He played abysmally, as the Eagles went 3-8-1 with him as the starter. Wentz was benched in favor of second-round pick Jalen Hurts. Even though the team seemed to play better with Hurts, it did not help repair a deteriorating relationship between Pederson and Wentz. Pederson was fired and then Wentz was traded.
In the five years since he was drafted No. 2 overall, Wentz has become just another former franchise quarterback taken from 2009 to 2016 who is no longer with his first team. While the breakup was totally uncomfortable and at times felt stubbornly acrimonious, it was the best thing to happen to both parties. Wentz, the Eagles and their fanbase can all move on for the better now.
For those Eagles fans who are not fond of Wentz, they have their reasons. He came across as entitled and never wanted to compete. Anytime there was adversity for him on the gridiron, he shrank. Even if the roster worsened, Wentz was rarely able to elevate the talent around him. Worst of all, he felt like an outsider in the City of Brotherly Love. It was just not meant to be.
However, Eagles fans should remember him for the good things he brought to the team. When he was at his best, there was unity across the organization. He had great teammates, a phenomenal coaching staff and a dedicated owner in Jeffery Lurie who wanted nothing more than to win. No wonder he was a worshipped idol in the former state of Wentzsylvania. Never worship false idols.
Ultimately, try think of Wentz in a positive light. It is not easy, but you have to try. He perhaps best embodies what it looks like when everything goes right. While that should have been his Lombardi Trophy to hoist, he ignited such great and undeniable positive momentum that catapulted the Eagles to a place they had not been since the days of Concrete Charlie. It truly is the end of an era.
You have the right have mixed emotions about the polarizing Carson Wentz era of Eagles football.