Why the Eagles’ long odds to win Super Bowl LII might be a good thing

Vegas doubts Carson Wentz and Doug Pederson can get the Eagles there in 2018. Good.

NFL: Super Bowl LI-New England Patriots vs Atlanta Falcons
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Well, that didn’t turn out how most Eagles fans had hoped. The New England Patriots won the Super Bowl, again, despite being down 28-3 in the third quarter, not only giving Tom Brady and Bill Belichick bragging rights for the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history, but also giving the duo the first overtime victory in the 51-year history of the game.

Lest we forget, the last time the Eagles were in the Super Bowl was 13 years ago when they lost to, yep, Brady, Belichick and the Patriots. Since then, New England has gone to four more Super Bowls, winning two. Brady is the first quarterback in history to win five Super Bowls and Belichick is the first coach in history to accomplish that as well, tied with Vince Lombardi and one behind Curly Lambeau and George Halas for championship wins of any kind.

Fresh off New England’s historic win, Vegas Insider posted the odds for 2018 Super Bowl and, yes, the Patriots are already the favorites at 13-to-2. For those not versed in wagering odds that means someone could walk into a casino today and put down $200 to win $1300 (plus get back the $200 they wagered). It’s certainly not a sure bet, but it’s better than their odds for this past season, which were tied for the best in the NFL at 8-to-1, with the Steelers and Seahawks.

The Patriots have such good odds to win the Super Bowl next year that the next four teams with the best odds play in the NFC. Dallas, Green Bay and Atlanta all posted at 12-to-1 odds, while the Pittsburgh Steelers and Denver Broncos posted at 18-to-1.

Kansas City and the New York Giants are both 20-to-1, giving just 10 teams in the 32-team league better than 30-to-1 odds to win next year’s Big Game.

The Eagles? 45-to-1.

This was about Tom Brady. Totally.

Interestingly, the Eagles don’t have the longest odds in the division, despite finishing in last place this season. Washington is 60-to-1 to win the Super Bowl next season, which seems remarkably low for a team that won the division just last year. That said, the changes in the coaching staff and potential loss of offensive weapons have Washington teetering above the bottom third in the league.

Cleveland — the team the Eagles traded with last off-season to move up to acquire Carson Wentz — and San Francisco — the team that just fired Chip Kelly after one horrible year — have the longest odds, again, at 300-to-1.

Of course, the early Vegas odds don’t really mean much in terms of prognosticating who will be the NFC representative in the Super Bowl next year. The Falcons were 40-to-1 to open the betting last year. (Note: while that proved to be a better bet, they still didn’t win.)

The odds to win Super Bowl 50 — when Denver topped Carolina to send Peyton Manning into retirement — had Seattle (who had just lost Super Bowl XLIX to the Patriots) at 6-to-1 and New England at 15-to-2. Green Bay was 8-to-1 that season, while Denver was 10-to-1. Carolina was 45-to-1, so for the second-straight year the NFC Super Bowl participant started with very long odds.

If the trend continues, things might look better than we think for the Eagles next year.

Both Carolina and Atlanta had something in common for their Super Bowl seasons: an MVP quarterback. Cam Newton and Matt Ryan each won the NFL MVP in leading their teams to the last two NFC crowns, so the lesson here — one the Eagles front office knows all too well — is that Super Bowl teams need a great quarterback.

Since the Eagles last made the Super Bowl, here is the full list of quarterbacks to lead their teams to play for an NFL championship: Tom Brady (4x), Peyton Manning (4x), Ben Roethlisberger (3x), Russell Wilson (2x), Eli Manning (2x), Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Kurt Warner, Joe Flacco, Cam Newton, Matt Ryan, Colin Kaepernick, Matt Hasselbeck and Rex Grossman.

Twenty-four teams have played in the Super Bowl since the Eagles last made it and just 14 quarterbacks have started those games. One of them — Warner — is already a Hall of Famer, selected in this year’s class. Another four — Brady, Peyton Manning, Roethlisberger and Brees — are sure-fire locks for Canton, and Aaron Rodgers is probably already at that level too. Eli Manning might get there as well, with two Super Bowl MVPs to his name.

Wilson was a franchise-changing find at quarterback for Seattle and, to a lesser extent, so was Flacco for Baltimore. And, again, both Newton and Ryan won the MVP the year they took their teams to the Super Bowl.

Carson Wentz better turn out to be good. He better turn out to be great.

In the last 12 seasons, the only quarterbacks who aren’t potential (or current) MVP candidates or Hall of Famers on that list were Kaepernick, Hasselbeck and Grossman, and not only did all three of them get to the Super Bowl on the backs of championship-caliber defenses, none of the three actually won the game.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The simple fact is this: quarterbacks win Super Bowls. Even in years like 2015 when Peyton Manning did little but hand off, rely on his championship defense and not screw up enough to lead the Broncos to a title, his experience and leadership was a boost. More often than not, though, teams will need to actually rely on an MVP performance in the Super Bowl to bring home a title. Just to get there, teams almost always need that as much the entire season.

Like it was tough to watch the Patriots win on Sunday, it’s difficult to see the Cowboys up there with the teams with the best odds in the NFL for next year. As good as Wentz was this season, though, Dallas has two rookies who had better years, and with the talent around them, may have brighter futures.

Philly is the 10th-ranked team in terms of Super Bowl odds next season in the NFC, a mark that wouldn’t even qualify them for the playoffs. And yet, that didn’t stop the last two NFC teams from making a run. So there’s always next year.

No pressure, Carson.

Odds to win Super Bowl LII

New England Patriots13/2
Dallas Cowboys12/1
Green Bay Packers12/1
Atlanta Falcons12/1
Seattle Seahawks15/1
Pittsburgh Steelers18/1
Denver Broncos18/1
Kansas City Chiefs20/1
New York Giants20/1
Oakland Raiders20/1
Minnesota Vikings30/1
Indianapolis Colts30/1
Carolina Panthers30/1
Arizona Cardinals35/1
Baltimore Ravens40/1
Tampa Bay Buccanneers40/1
Houston Texans40/1
Philadelphia Eagles45/1
Miami Dolphins50/1
Tennessee Titans50/1
Washington Redskins60/1
Cincinnati Bengals70/1
Detroit Lions70/1
New Orleans Saints70/1
Buffalo Bills80/1
Los Angeles Chargers80/1
Jacksonville Jaguars100/1
Chicago Bears125/1
New York Jets150/1
Los Angeles Rams150/1
San Francisco 49ers300/1
Cleveland Browns300/1
Super Bowl odds via Vegas Insider

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