Trent Cole says Eagles were 'inches away'

As the New York Giants celebrated their second Lombardi Trophy in four seasons on Tuesday, Trent Cole prepared for an outdoor show in Harrisburg, Pa., left to think what could have been.

The Philadelphia Eagles, after all, were a popular pick to reach the Super Bowl this season, and probably the favorite to win the NFC East. They didn’t get it done in a year that unraveled quickly.

"We had a bad year. We just couldn't pull it off at the last minute. Andy (Reid) is a great coach,” Cole said. “We were right there, inches away from being great, being a dominant, dominant team. I think some teams are going to be worried about playing us (in 2012).”

Inches? We’ve heard about the longest yard in football. Surely, Cole must be referring to the longest inches, right?

Yes, the Eagles won their final four games to close 8-8. There were signs, perhaps, that Reid and Co. had straightened out issues by the end of the season. But inches? At 4-8, the Eagles were miles away from contending.

"The (Giants) didn't stop,” Cole said. “They finished strong, and that's what it's all about. I kind of knew, if the Giants' defense came to play, it was going to be a game . . . We finished strong as well, but it didn't work out (to reach the playoffs).

"It's hard (to see the Giants win the Super Bowl again). They're too close to home. But you've got to give it to them. Eli (Manning) did a great job. That's two Super Bowls he's won, against a great team. There's nothing you can say.”

Except maybe that the Eagles were inches away.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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