If you were one of the millions of people who watched the hit HBO show Game of Thrones, you’re aware of who the character “Little Finger” was. For the three of you who didn’t watch, let me give you a quick synopsis. “Little Finger” was a character who wasn’t born with royal blood. He had no line to any throne. But he would scheme, and back stab, and hit his wagon to anyone with power as he slowly rose to the top. Getting in the ear of whomever at the time had power. He became an “advisor” for anyone who would listen. But his whole goal was to get to the top, while out surviving everyone else.
Does this sound familiar?
In an INCREDIBLE article by Jeff McLane, the picture is painted. Its hard to ignore the parallels between the fictional character and the real life GM of the Philadelphia Eagles. Howie’s rise to power is well documented. From intern, to cap wizard, to GM, banished to the basement, to GM again. Hes survived three head coaches. Hes survived coaching changes, Hes survived bad drafts. BUT hes survived. How?
The McLane article confirms what many Eagles fans have feared. That owner Jeffrey Lurie is 100% complicit in the mess that we have before us. And even worse, he’s willing to praise the man who set the building on fire, for “trying” to put out the very fire he started. Lurie is a creature of habit. He doesn’t like a lot of change. He hired Andy Reid and that worked out pretty good. 13 seasons later he fired the coach and decided to go with an out of the box hire; Chip Kelly. He trusted Chip. He gave Chip all the power he wanted. He allowed Chip to banish his beloved Howie to the basement to clean non existent trophies. But when players (mainly DeMarco Murray) approached the owner on a plane and said they could no longer play for Kelly, Lurie stepped in.
Lurie suddenly got more hands on. He listened to the players, and fired Chip. He promoted Howie back to GM. He then went back to his old familiar friend Andy Reid for a coach that was different, but felt similar. He, along with Howie, landed on Doug Pederson. But then Howie finagled his way up the draft board and drafted Carson Wentz second overall. And for four years it looked like it was a great move. Until, like most decisions Howie made, it came time to pay up. Years of coddling stars had done damage. And it resulted in the selection of Jalen Hurts being the proverbial straw that broke the camels back. Wentz was done. His play this past season didn’t help. But the picture painted out of Novacare is a troubling one.
The GM who traded up to select Wentz having a fat head in his office. That doesn’t quite send the right message to other players. After all, football is the ultimate team sport, even if Wentz played the most important position. But the fat head was a symbol of Roseman’s insecurities. Roseman did not play football. He wasn’t a scout. He was a guy with a calculator who could get you the best return possible April 15th. But anyone who has seen “The Last Dance” documentary now knows that men who hold the highest power in sports, want their ego stroked. SO when Wentz looked the golden boy that we were promised it became vindication for Howie Roseman. Who, for years, had to listen his detractors say he “wasn’t a football guy.”
But humility slowly went by the wayside. In my humble opinion, the best leaders know their limitations. Howie does not. Neither does Lurie for that matter. Both men seemed to get more and more hands on, especially after the magical run in 2018 that netted the franchise its first Lombardi trophy. McLane, who cites over two dozen team sources, says that Lurie was always involved. He also unequivocally trusts Roseman. But Howie is in charge because hes willing to do Lurie’s bidding. The most damning quote in the article:
“Lurie sees the Eagles through Roseman colored glasses.”
Neither Lurie or Howie are “football guys.” One was a cap “wizard” while the other was a movie producer. But in an NFL building its easy to understand how the two men in power wanted to be “one of the guys.” And who was going to hold either accountable? So Howie would whisper things into Lurie’s ear during games, like Little Finger whispering into Sansa Stark. And like Sansa Stark, Lurie would just take Howie’s word on everything because he doesn’t know any better.
So when the Eagles scouts say Justin Jefferson in round 1 and Jeremy Chinn in round 2, Howie decided to ignore them all and select Jalen Reagor and Jalen Hurts. This is after the owner and GM combo drafted JJ Arcega-Whiteside in the second round the previous year. A player who couldn’t get on the field who played a position they desperately needed. Doug Pederson is complicit in this also. The coach failed to speak up in draft meetings, and was in favor of the Reagor and Hurts selections. So instead of tweedle dee and tweedle dum it was the three stooges running things.
But eventually Pederson decided to stand his ground on coaching decisions and that led to his firing in January. Roseman was allowed to stay. Linus from the peanuts gang has his blue blanket. And Jeffrey Lurie has his security blanket in Howie Roseman.
Its one of the main reasons I am as down on the Eagles as I have ever been. The team is rebuilding, but I have zero faith in the one tasked with the rebuild. Its as if Lurie is sitting in a bunker just watching the Super Bowl tape on a loop. Completely oblivious to what is happening around him. Ive often compared Jeffrey Lurie’s reaction to whats transpired over the last 18 months as this gif.
Another concern from the McLane piece is the fact its been released. McLane states he spoke to two dozen team sources for the article. The Eagles have clearly had a problem with leaks in the three years since the parade. It seems like they cant keep anything in house. Kudo’s to the reporters (like Jeff) for getting stories like this, but to me that’s a problem. The leaks out of the Novacare building are troubling. And believe it or not, they actually try to be tight lipped.
McLane discusses Roseman being incredibly secretive leading up towards the draft so his board wont get leaked out. The downside of this, however, is Roseman not meeting with a group of scouts, but individually. Its not a discussion amongst a group who’ve spent a calendar year watching college players. Its a one on one with an accountant who has a bad draft history. Combine all of this, with Lurie getting more involved in the Senior Bowl, and Pro Days and you have a recipe for disaster. Because no one wants to tell the King he should sit this one out. And unfortunately for Eagles fans Lurie is the king. And sitting by his side is Little Finger…..er….I mean Howie Roseman. The man who has schemed his way to the top, only to hop on a dragon and torch Kings Landing (yes, I know that was Daenerys, but the analogy fits ya nerd!)