By Bill Foley
Just ask Philadelphia Eagles receiver Alshon Jeffery, karma can be a real son of a gun.
Jeffery taunted Bears fans after Cody Parkey pulled a Ray Finkle in Chicago. Exactly one week later, Jeffery became a giant goat in the “City of Brotherly Love.”
As the Eagles moved inside the New Orleans 30-yard line with about 2 minutes left Sunday, Jeffery let a Nick Foles pass go right off his hands. The ball bounced into the arms of Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore, killing Philadelphia’s comeback hopes and ending the Eagles’ run for consecutive Super Bowl champions.
Philadelphia didn’t get the ball back, and the Saints won by six points, advancing to this Sunday’s NFC Championship Game against the Los Angeles Rams.
Following the decisive play, Jeffery remained on the field, lying face down and pouting about the dropped pass.
At about the same exact time the Sunday prior, the same receiver was seen on the field in Chicago taunting Bears fans with “bye-bye” waves, apparently enacting revenge against loyal fans who cheered him on for five seasons in the Windy City.
As bad as those fans felt to see Jeffery rub salt in a wound, though, Jeffery felt even worse in the Big Easy.
“That’s on me. I’ll take that loss. It’s on me,” Jeffery said. “I let my teammates down, the city of Philadelphia, that’s on me. I’ll take that.”
With that, Philadelphia’s level-headed fanbase — the fanbase that booed the drafting of Donovan McNabb and threw snowballs at Santa Claus — collectively said, “Oh, we feel better now that you said that, Alshon.”
While one play doesn’t make a game — the Eagles had many opportunities to win that game before Jeffery’s drop — the receiver will forever be blamed for that bitter loss.
If nothing else, what happened with Jeffery is a classic case of why you can never mess around with karma. What goes around almost always comes back around.
Immediately following the drop, as if we didn’t suspect it, social media exploded with people making fun of Jeffery. Bears fans and media rejoiced, as if the drop somehow served as redemption for Parkey’s doink the week before.
One meme posted on Facebook showed a guy holding out an NFL football. It read, “Here Alshon, you dropped this.”
While Jeffery clearly feels bad about the one drop, he certainly has nothing to apologize for. He caught five passes for 68 yards in the loss. He made plays all season to help the Eagles fail on that big stage.
Oh, and the Eagles have Super Bowl rings in large part because of Jeffery. In last year’s Super Bowl win over the Patriots, Jeffery made a great catch in the back of the end zone for a 34-yard touchdown to break a 3-all tie.
On the game, he caught three passes for 73 yards, and was in the Super Bowl MVP conversation.
Unless the likes of Jerry Rice, John Stallworth and Lynn Swan are publicly poking fun at Jeffery, the receiver has done way more to win a Super Bowl than anyone making and sharing derogatory memes.
Jeffery’s biggest mistake was tempting karma, and that is always a bad idea. Those who mock his mistake do the same.
That is why I will not laugh at Jeffery, and I will not blame him for my one loss in a 3-1 weekend. My only setback was the Eagles, and I went 2-2 against the point spread, the one thing immune to karma.
Following are my Championship Game picks. The lines are from ESPN, which apparently is still a network.
1:05 p.m. (FOX)
Los Angeles Rams (plus 3.5) at New Orleans
The Rams went to New Orleans on Nov. 4 and fell 45-35 to the Saints. After the Saints beat the Eagles 48-7 at home two weeks later, New Orleans was looking invincible.
However, the Mighty Saints, who needed an uncharacteristic drop to win last week, are looking not so mighty after their 13-10 loss at Dallas on Nov. 19. The Saints barely beat the Panthers 12-9, and they only beat the worst Steelers team of the decade 31-28 because of a horrible pass interference call.
The fleecing of Pittsburgh led Mike Greenberg of ESPN to launch the tweet:
“There are quite a few good teams in the NFC – but no one is beating the #Saints in New Orleans.”
Besides proving that Mike Golic was the brains of the “Mike and Mike” show all those years, Greensberg is putting the Saints on the wrong side of karma.
Rams by 3
New England (plus 3) at Kansas City
For the 53rd consecutive year, the Patriots are playing in the AFC Championship Game.
Of course, they cheated to get to 50 of those.
New England probably even cheated when the Patriots beat the Chiefs 43-40 Oct. 14 in New England.
This time, the teams meet in Arrowhead Stadium, and Patrick Mahomes, the greatest quarterback to ever live, has 11 more games under his belt. That includes last week’s 31-13 win over the Colts.
Tom Terrific can’t cheat well enough to take down Boy Wonder this time.
Chefs by 7