By Peter Gleason

With all the deification of Andy Reid going on this week as his Kansas City Chiefs prepare to play the New England Patriots this weekend, it is useful for Eagles fans to remember:

That so many of Big Red’s Birds teams fell way short of their championship expectations.

Such as the 2002 playoffs.

It was all right there for the taking: Philly, which had made one Super Bowl all the way back in 1980 under Dick Vermeil, was the best of the NFL’s final four, playing a home game in the NFC championship against Jon Gruden’s Bucs, who entered as four-point dogs.

The AFC championship, to be played later in the day, featured Oakland and Tennessee, teams that would have been underdogs to Philly in their potential Super Bowl meeting.

But just like so many of those Andy Reid teams, this squad fell apart in the NFC championship. A touchdown 52 seconds into the game gave the Eagles a fleeting feeling of invincibility, but by the end of the first they were down 10-7 and then, after a brief tie, Tampa scored 17 straight.

Philly would get other chances, most notably in the Super Bowl against New England in 2005 when they had the ball down three with 46 seconds left in a game that wasn’t as close as most people remember. Plus, by that time, Philly’s inferiority complex had become so complicated that nobody really expected the team to win it all.

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