As they begin December approaching the postseason from an unfamiliar perspective – on the outside, looking in – the Seahawks have more pressing tasks than arranging a hilariously creative touchdown dance for their Sunday night game against Philadelphia.
Which is too bad, because the Eagles need to know how it feels when a pie is stuffed in their face.
The Eagles, at 10-1, own the NFL’s best record. They are the league leaders in rushing defense, points-per-game differential and yards-per-game differential.
They also lead the league in calculated end zone celebrations, such as the one they performed last week after jumping to a 24-3 first-half lead over the Chicago Bears. Upon catching a touchdown pass, wide receiver Alshon Jeffery posed as a bowler rolling a strike that tumbles down 10 of his teammates.
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The NFL recently loosened restrictions forbidding celebratory antics, and the Eagles have elevated their act to that over-the-top place where they mimic home-run hitters and take the occasional “Nestea Plunge.”
Wild, wacky stuff, wholly endorsed by head coach Doug Pederson.
“The guys are having fun doing it,” Pederson said the other day. “They’re really enjoying each other now. They enjoy coming to work every week. This game is hard enough that when you score, you kind of want to celebrate together and that’s a good thing.”
This hard game hasn’t been very hard for the Eagles, who since Oct. 29 have outscored four opponents by a margin – 152-45 – that gives them the luxury of choreographing routines.
Last Sunday, as they were nearing a 31-3 obliteration of the Bears, the Philadelphia defense put on a skit after a garbage-time interception. The Eagles performed an “Electric Slide” dance once popular on disco floors in the mid 1970s.
“A lot of guys jumped in,” cornerback Malcolm Jenkins said during an appearance on the “Good Morning America” TV show. “They wanted to get caught on tape and go viral, I guess. It’s fun, man. We just really want to keep up with the offense and their celebrations.”
I happen to share Pederson’s belief that celebrating together is a good thing. I believe, too, there is credence in the bromide about putting responsibility for showing up an opponent in the hands of those who are being shown up.
You want to prevent a dance following an intercepted pass thrown in a 31-3 blowout? Try this: Don’t get down 31-3, and don’t throw an interception.
But there is a fine line between good-natured frivolity and lousy sportsmanship, and if the Eagles didn’t cross that line last Sunday, they pushed it close to the edge.
Merely winning no longer is a thrill for a team that has come to anticipate four-touchdown leads late in the fourth quarter. The urgency is to participate in a video that goes viral.
The Eagles must be confronted and taken down a notch. Watching them as stooges in a video that goes viral might not provide a solution to all of the world’s problems, but it would be a start.
Somebody? Anybody? How about the Seahawks?
They’ve got the look of a proud team embarking on its last stand after five consecutive trips to the playoffs. Injuries have depleted the defense, and the offense is struggling to develop cohesion between linemen who barely know each other and running backs unable to take advantage of the blocks that sometimes afford them room.
But it’s not as if the Hawks are human punching bags helpless to avoid a flurry. Among 32 NFL teams, they’re ranked No. 8 in both total defense and total offense.
The mighty Eagles have gained 4,196 yards this season. The Seahawks, despite their laundry list of woes, have gained 3,994.
My indifference to math class made for some long mornings in summer school, but I recognize similar numbers when I see them.
What I’m saying is, yes, there’s a chance to humble a team that has become as insufferable as it is invincible.
Dancing in the moonlight would be a supernatural delight. Dancing with two minutes remaining, after an interception seals a convincing Seahawks victory, would be even better.