When Nick Sirianni returned from Washington on Sunday night, he turned into a Green Bay Packers fan.
The Eagles had beaten the Washington Football Team, 20-16, earlier that day, and they needed the Packers to beat the Minnesota Vikings to clinch a spot in the playoffs. Even in the fourth quarter of a blowout Packers win, Sirianni wouldn’t let himself celebrate his temporarily adopted team’s success.
“You wait until the whole thing,” he said Monday. “I was ready to go to bed by the end of it.”
The Eagles (9-7) secured a playoff berth in Sirianni’s first season at the helm, but the coach said he’s focused on the regular-season finale against the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday.
“Obviously, we’re really excited to be in the tournament, but like I said, we’ve got to focus on beating Dallas and the plan that goes into that,” Sirianni said. “Got to focus on getting better from the game we played yesterday. But obviously, we’re all excited to be in this situation, and the goal is obviously to run it out and go as far as we can in this thing.”
The Eagles don’t have a significant amount riding on the Cowboys game. They could improve their chances of going from the No. 7 seed to the sixth seed with a win. Regardless of where they end up, the most likely scenario is them playing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the wild-card round, with the Los Angeles Rams being the next most likely.
The Eagles won seven of their last nine games to get to this point, making a distinct turnaround after starting the season 2-5. A few days after an ugly loss to the Las Vegas Raiders, Sirianni said his message to the team was to grow like a plant while displaying a picture of one for the team, something that was met with stark criticism from fans and some media members. One fan even threw a bouquet of flowers at Sirianni on his way off the field after the Eagles’ loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.
Sirianni said he isn’t caught up in saying “I told you so” to the detractors of his metaphor, though.
“I know everybody has a job to do,” Sirianni said. “My job is to block out the outside noise, whether it’s telling me that I’m really good — and this is how I want our players to think as well — or whether it’s telling me that I stink, and that my catchphrases about growing roots stinks.”