PHOENIX – The “Howie! Howie! Howie” chants at the team’s send-off party in Philadelphia followed Eagles general manager Howie Roseman to Super Bowl opening night.
They were yelling obscenities at Roseman not too long ago.
The once-exiled executive who was cast aside for Chip Kelly for a year and returned to lead the Eagles to the franchise’s only Super Bowl title is back again after hitting rock bottom in 2020.
The Eagles (16-3) are one win away from their second Super Bowl title in five years under Roseman’s leadership. They have to beat former coach Andy Reid, Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs (16-3) to hoist the Lombardi Trophy again.
“You guys have a job to do. Whether I agree or not, that’s the nature of the beast,” Roseman said of the intense criticism he received in Philadelphia in 2020. “It’s a moment to moment league. We had a terrible moment. In that moment, in this market, people pile on. It’s just the nature of it. I’ve been through it before. I understand it. At the end of the day, it’s my job to turn it around as quickly as possible. That’s what we’re trying to do here.”
Roseman, who began his NFL career as a non-paid summer intern in 2000 and rose to youngest general manager in the league at age 34 in 2010, lost control of personnel decisions in a power struggle with Kelly in 2015. Kelly got fired after he bombed and Roseman regained his role as GM and executive vice president a year later.
After the Eagles beat the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl after the 2017 season, All-Pro center Jason Kelce mentioned Roseman’s journey in his famous speech at the team’s victory parade.
“Howie Roseman, a few years ago, was relinquished of all control pretty much in this organization,” Kelce screamed to the crowd while wearing a costume donned by folks who strut in Philadelphia’s Mummers Parade on New Year’s Day. “He was put in the side of the building where I didn’t see him for over a year! Two years ago, when they made a decision, he came out of there a different man. He came out of there with a purpose and a drive to make this possible. And I saw a different Howie Roseman. An underdog.”
Roseman’s honeymoon in Philly didn’t last long despite the team going to the playoffs the next two seasons. He was chastised for drafting wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside ahead of DK Metcalf in the second round in 2019. It got worse when the Eagles took wideout Jalen Reagor one pick ahead of Justin Jefferson in the first round in 2020. Roseman didn’t get any credit for selecting Jalen Hurts in the second round that year because the Eagles already had Carson Wentz and most people thought they had needs bigger than a backup quarterback.
So when the Eagles went 4-11-1 in 2020, Roseman was excoriated in Philly. Doug Pederson was fired just three years after coaching the team to the Super Bowl victory. Wentz was traded and Nick Sirianni was hired. That wasn’t popular, either.
Now, Sirianni is the toast of the town, Hurts is an MVP finalist and nobody cares about Reagor/Jefferson because Roseman drafted DeVonta Smith and acquired A.J. Brown in a trade.
“I hope it doesn’t happen again in five years but if we’re playing in the Super Bowl I’ll take it,” Roseman said when reminded he’s answering the same questions now that he heard in Minnesota before the Eagles appeared in their last Super Bowl.
Ten of Philadelphia’s 11 starters on offense are players Roseman drafted. So much for those blunders.
“There’s so much I wanna say,” Roseman said with a smile. “At the end of the day, I don’t think that we’re at this moment of reflection or talking about anything we’ve done. We’re just trying to win a game quite honestly. We like that we have homegrown players. That’s the key to success. You wanna draft well, you want to re-sign your own guys. Obviously, we’ve supplemented them with some free agents on defense. But when you look at offense, you’ve always had this theory that it’s easier to grow an offense together and it’s easier to bring in defensive players that are free agents or through trades.”
Roseman made all the right moves last offseason, from a trade with the Saints to acquire more draft capital to acquiring Brown and signing edge rusher Haason Reddick and cornerback James Bradberry.
“We thought we had an opportunity to be really great,” owner Jeffrey Lurie said about signing off on Roseman’s personnel decisions.
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