This season has been a whirlwind. We were so excited to be excelling in the playoffs! Our team hasn’t won the division in a long time; this city definitely deserves it.
Regardless of whether your team is having a “good” or “bad” season, most NFL games are so close in score. In at least 50 percent of the games, the difference is seven points or less — that’s only one touchdown! But I do see how the Lord has been blessing us on the field this year in many ways.
Most years, leaders come and go due to contracts and trades. But most of our major team leaders from last year returned this year. I think this has been one of the biggest advantages we have in the league. And the rest of our guys are playing at a really high level. I’ve never been in a locker room quite like it. Guys are not only playing for the win or for themselves, these men are playing for each other — for the team. There have been years when we’ve had really great offense and special teams, but our defense was weak. Or our defense was strong but our offense needed a lot of work. This year we’ve really been clicking on all cylinders.
But a few week’s ago, when we won the division, it was a bittersweet win because we lost, yet again, another one of our best leaders — our starting quarterback, Carson Wentz, went down with a torn ACL and is out for the rest of the season. A lot of our best players and team leaders are now out for the season. Jordan Matthews was traded, Jordan Hicks — who was becoming a big-time leader for us — ruptured his achilles, Chris Maragos just underwent season-ending knee surgery, and all of the sudden Wentz was out for the season as well.
These men were not only influential on the field, they are huge spiritual leaders in the locker room. Though these guys are still on the team, they don’t come on the road with us and they’re not at the facility as much as the rest of the team. When you lose this kind of leadership, typically things start to go south. Just last week, Carson and I were meeting with a pastor in Seattle who was encouraging us to be strong and step up as the spiritual leaders on the team. To equate it with a church, it seems like the pastor and most of the deacons have gone and we’re left wondering, “Who’s going to lead now?”
Though we’ve lost a bunch of our leaders, our backup squad has done a really good job filling in on the field. And we happen to have the best backup QB in the NFL. Nick Foles had the opportunity to be a starter this year on other teams, but he decided to come back to Philly because he wanted to be part of something he knew would be really special. He’s an unbelievable player and I know our team is in great hands under his leadership.
Though our record is outstanding, it doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s definitely been a challenging season for us. But I was encouraged by a text message a group of us received from Hicks the other day which relayed the truth of James 1:2-4:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
That’s it. We don’t have any other choice but to keep pressing on. There are still things that need to be done on the field, in the locker room and in this city this season. It’s tough not having the support and leadership of these spiritual warriors with us every day, and personally, I miss having them by my side. They bring so much joy to our team.
But they want us to keep pushing. They are still faithfully encouraging and challenging us to keep pressing on toward the goal.
—Trey Burton, Philadelphia Eagles tight end