On Feb. 4, 2018, the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the New England Patriots at U.S. Bank Stadium in Super Bowl LII.
About five years and one week later, the Eagles will return to the Super Bowl, having won the NFC Championship Game 31-7 over the 49ers on Sunday.
Vikings fans might resent the Eagles for the walloping they delivered in the 2017 NFC title game, or Eagles fans for their felonious behaviors before and during that game.
Look past those emotions, and every Vikings fan should admire what the Eagles have accomplished.
The NFL allows intelligent teams to reinvent themselves on the fly. The Eagles might be the smartest team in football.
Remember, when the Wilfs made their first coaching hire, they chose Brad Childress, in part because he had coached in the Eagles organization, which was at the time considered one of the NFL's model franchises.
The Eagles are even more impressive now. They are proof that in the NFL, rebuilding is measured by a stopwatch, not a sundial.
Imagine if, two years ago, someone had told you that Nick Sirianni was going to take the Eagles to the Super Bowl with Jalen Hurts as his quarterback. You might have asked them to get checked out in the blue tent.
The Eagles won their Super Bowl at U.S. Bank Stadium with second-year head coach Doug Pederson; backup quarterback Nick Foles having taken over for the injured Carson Wentz; and with skill-position players named Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor, LeGarrette Blount and Zach Ertz.
This season's NFC champ features four starters who are holdovers from the team that won at U.S. Bank Stadium — offensive linemen Lane Johnson and Jason Kelce and defensive linemen Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox.
They ditched Wentz, who had been on track to win the MVP award in 2017 before he was injured, and invested in Hurts, a second-round draft pick who had lost his starting job at Alabama and was unproven as a passer.
Pederson won the Super Bowl in his second year as Eagles head coach. He was replaced with Sirianni, a seemingly anonymous offensive assistant with the Colts. Sirianni is taking the Eagles to the Super Bowl in his second season as head coach.
A year ago, Hurts was an impressive runner who struggled to pass against better defenses. This year, he was efficient as a runner and passer and might have been the front-runner for NFL MVP if he had remained healthy all season.
Other than the four remaining starters, there has been one constant for the Eagles over the past five years — General Manager Howie Roseman.
He's the most valuable member of the franchise, and proof that even the best make mistakes — and that the best can recover from them.
Roseman chose Jalen Reagor over Justin Jefferson in the 2021 draft. He spent the second pick in the 2016 draft on Wentz.
Either is the kind of mistake that can cost you your job, but Roseman has built such strong rosters that he was able to win one title with Wentz's journeyman backup, and might win another with a second-round pick who not long ago was considered, at best, a developing passer.
The Vikings might drool over Patrick Mahomes and Joe Burrow, but Roseman is proof that winning in the NFL is about more than star quarterbacks.
While Bill Belichick has won nothing without Tom Brady as his quarterback, Roseman built a team that beat Brady in the Super Bowl with a backup quarterback.
Now Roseman has a chance to win two Super Bowls, five years apart, with a new head coach, coordinators, quarterbacks, skill-position players, linebackers and secondary.
Virtually everyone who visits Philadelphia for a sporting event pays homage to the Rocky statue in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Spoiler alert: Rocky was a fictional character. His victories were the product of scriptwriters.
In Philly these days, Roseman is the scriptwriter. His statue should stand next to Rocky's. And it should be bigger.