The No. 1 seed is far from smooth sailing for the Eagles

It’s the easiest path to the Super Bowl, right? 

Well, in theory at least. 

The win in their regular-season finale against the Giants gave the Eagles a 14-3 record for the year and, finally, everything else they were after: The NFC East title and the NFC’s No. 1 seed in the playoffs, which meant home-field advantage throughout and an increasingly valuable first-round bye. 

Jalen Hurts, Lane Johnson, Avonte Maddox, and everyone else on the roster who needed it got an extra week to heal up along with the assurance that the road to Arizona requires a stop through Lincoln Financial Field. 

It sounds like a recipe for smooth sailing to the finish line, but history has proven that it’s anything but. 

Going back through the last 20 years, the top seed, in either conference, has often meant little when it comes to crowning the Super Bowl champion. 

Lopsided records, routine blowouts, MVP campaigns? Doesn’t matter. Once you’re in the playoffs, anything goes – timely hot streaks, blown calls… Ricky Manning… all of it. 

So the 2022 Eagles have the No. 1 seed now. What they make of it is all on them beginning Saturday night in what will be Round 3 against Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley, and the Giants. 

As a means of reference, here are all the NFC’s No. 1 seeds and how far they went from the past 20 seasons (plus a few notes at the end): 

 Season NFC No. 1 Seed (W-L) Result  Super Bowl Champion (Rk)
2022 Eagles (14-3)  ???  ??? 
2021  Green Bay (13-4)  Lost Divisional Round  LA Rams (4, NFC)
2020  Green Bay (13-3) Lost NFC Championship  Tampa Bay (5, NFC) 
2019  San Francisco (13-3)  Lost Super Bowl  Kansas City (2, AFC) 
2018  New Orleans (13-3)  Lost NFC Championship  New England (2, AFC) 
2017  Eagles (13-3)  Won Super Bowl  Eagles (1, NFC)
2016  Dallas (13-3)  Lost Divisional Round  New England (1, AFC) 
2015  Carolina (15-1)  Lost Super Bowl  Denver (1, AFC) 
2014  Seattle (12-4)  Lost Super Bowl  New England (1, AFC) 
2013  Seattle (13-3)  Won Super Bowl   Seattle (1, NFC)
2012  Atlanta (13-3)  Lost NFC Championship  Baltimore (4, AFC) 
2011  Green Bay (15-1)  Lost Divisional Round  NY Giants (4, NFC) 
2010  Atlanta (13-3)  Lost Divisional Round  Green Bay (6, NFC) 
2009  New Orleans (13-3)  Won Super Bowl  New Orleans (1, NFC) 
2008  NY Giants (12-4)  Lost Divisional Round  Pittsburgh (2, AFC) 
2007  Dallas (13-3)  Lost Divisional Round  NY Giants (5, NFC) 
2006  Chicago (13-3)  Lost Super Bowl  Indianapolis (3, AFC) 
2005  Seattle (13-3)  Lost Super Bowl  Pittsburgh (6, AFC) 
2004  Eagles (13-3)  Lost Super Bowl  New England (2, AFC) 
2003  Eagles (12-4)  Lost NFC Championship   New England (1, AFC)

• The 2017 Eagles are the last No. 1 seed to go and win the whole thing, but there’s something important to remember about that team: At no point were they ever really treated like a No. 1 seed. Because of Carson Wentz’s ACL tear and other significant injuries, few outside of Philadelphia took the Eagles seriously. The Falcons, Vikings, and then the Patriots were all favored over them in the playoffs – which was rare for a 13-3 team – but in the end, Nick Foles, Doug Pederson, dog masks, and the “next man up” mentality were what left with the trophy.

• A breakdown of NFC No. 1 seeds from 2003-2021: six lost in the Divisional Round, four won their Divisional Round game, six won the NFC Championship, and just three went on to win the Super Bowl. 

• The Eagles clinching the top seed in the conference four times over the past 20 seasons is a pretty impressive testament to their long-term consistency. Only Seattle and Green Bay come close to that mark, doing it three times each. 

• Dallas coasting through the regular season then bowing out immediately is peak Dallas. 

• Across the NFC and AFC, a one-seed has won the Super Bowl seven times. The Patriots were three of them (2003, 2014, 2016).

• 2003… Ricky Manning, dude…

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