I’m not understanding the phrase “all in” as it relates to the Eagles

In addition to the phrase “Dream Team” that it seems the 2011 Eagles will forever be linked with (positively if the Eagles win the Super Bowl, derisively if they don’t), there’s another phrase that seems to continuously rear its head – “All in.”

Hell, Joe Banner even used it:

“Somebody wrote the words ‘The Eagles are all in,’ and that’s how we look at it.  We’re doing anything and everything we can, we’re being aggressive about it, and the expectations are high.”

I’m not sure if Joe Banner watches the World Series of Poker on ESPN2 at 3am, but the phrase “All in,” at least in poker, means risking all your chips on one hand.  If you win, you win big.  If you lose, you lose everything.  But is that really the situation here?

I’m not sure I understand the term “all in” as it relates to this Eagles team, at least as far as what “all in” means in poker.  For one, despite all the free agent signings, the Eagles remain one of the youngest teams in the NFL.  Ten players will be 30 years of age or older when the season begins, but only 1 will be over 31, and none will be over 33.  The Eagles’ oldest players:

– Juqua Parker, DE – 33

– Jamaal Jackson, C – 31

– Michael Vick, QB – 31

– Jon Dorenbos, LS – 31

– Donald Lee – 31

– Jason Babin – 31

– Nnamdi Asomugha, CB – 30

– Cullen Jenkins, DE/DT – 30

– Asante Samuel, CB – 30

– Joselio Hanson, CB – 30

It was a really good team with a solid foundation before the new influx of free agent impact players – It’s just better now.  Is this team going to suddenly be terrible if they don’t win the Super Bowl this season?  Don’t count on it.

In poker, is there a way you can bet all your chips, but if you lose, you still get them all back and can try again?  Is there any term for that?  Because really, that’s what the Eagles are doing.


  1. norman says:

    its actually surprisingly proper, though I doubt its being used correctly.

    In poker strategy, going all-in is a risky move, but its not overly risky. Good poker players go all-in on hands they would not call someone’s all in bet. Its called aggression, which is exactly what philadelphia is being. They’re being aggressive with other teams, intimidating them. If DAL, WASH, and NYG all have to feel they need to spend to keep up, or instantly feel like underdogs, its a valuable psychological tool. Poker players use it to control.

    In anything, feeling like an underdog is still an disadvantage. They only have 1 thing to motivate them. Being better, better talented, and favored is not a bad thing. Means you can be more aggressive.

    1. norman says:

      Specifically, doyle brunson refers to it as vigor. Its the measurable advantage you gain by making the other guy guess your likely-best hand. If that is higher than what he currently has odds-wise, he’ll fold- not knowing you had much less.

      Anyway, pokernerd deactivate.

      1. “Anyway, pokernerd deactivate.”

        Haha, not at all. Good comment.

        1. norman says:

          I guess ultimately my point is: forget the notion that all-in is a sign of weakness. A chipleader at a table will go all in, forcin the other guy to decide if he is okay with the 2 cards he’s holding to be the last 2.. if he loses, anyway. The chipleader doesn’t care, he has more freedom cause he knows there is a future, even after losing.

          1. Understood. Love the different perspective on the analogy.

  2. smutsboy says:

    Yeah but how do the Eagles rank in terms of average starters’ age?

    And how many of their best players are 30 or older? A few, for sure.

    The Eagles’ indeed aren’t “all in”, but they certainly addressed perceived deficiencies by signing older talent to not-small contracts.

    Prior to this year the Eagles had a great offensive core in place, an aging but good QB, and an OL in-flux.

    The defense was a complete work in progress, if not a regression.

    This off-season is most certainly a change in how they are building this team, to say the least.

  3. Daryl says:

    Meh, it’s just media hype. They’re bored and need a team to fixate on. Dallas didn’t make a bunch of big moves this year, so they just latch on to another team that did. Since we’re a big market team anyway, we’re the new obsession. All this “dream team” stuff and comparisons to the Miami Heat are stupid. Andy will keep the players level-headed (and hopefully not allow Vince Young to talk to the media again).

  4. DaCrock says:

    I agree that “all in” as it’s applied in poker is not the right term to describe the Eagles’ player moves in free agency. They have arguably made themselves a much better team and Super Bowl contender in 2011, and will likely remain a strong team for years to come. However, coupled with his follow-up comments, especially “We’re doing anything and everything we can, we’re being aggressive about it, and the expectations are high,” Banner may indeed be sending a subtle and cleverly disguised message to Andy Reid that HE is “all in,” because if Reid–now the NFL’s longest tenured head coach–doesn’t win it all with the horses that have been given to him this year, one would have to seriously question how fans would react. Eagles fans have asked for Reid’s head in the past after painful playoff losses; to not get over the hump in 2011 with this much talent on the roster might be the last straw for Andy.

    1. D3Keith says:

      I seriously question the notion that Joe Banner would make a decision on Reid based on the fans’ reaction. Clearly Joe reads the papers (and maybe the blogs) but I don’t think he makes moves to appease us (except as it relates to future expected wins)

  5. yngrich says:

    “All In” probably isnt the correct term to use…BUT its the closest term to describe what they are doing. Jenkins, Aso & Babin are 30+, apparently the rule is u dont pay FA’s who are 30+ big money. Nice short term gain but long term pain(fat contract for older underperforming players is the idea). Not to mention the Vick contract that may get done soon, he’s 31. The thing about the Eagles is they got tons of picks too, so it actually kinda balances out. But the Eagles don’t draft well… nice site btw (my gf thinks the team icons are cute).

    1. Ha thanks (re: team logos).

      I hear you on the fact that the guys they signed are 30+. They’re actually 30 on the nose. And if there wasn’t good depth behind those guys, I could see where people might say they’re putting instant gratification over the long term. But the depth is there.

      The Eagles remain one of the youngest teams in the league, despite all the FA signings. As you mentioned, they have a ton of picks. They had 13 picks in 2010. They had 11 this year. They already have 11 accumulated for 2012, including an extra 2. There’s no shortage of youth on their roster. And not just youth… talented youth. And I’ll disagree that they draft poorly, but that’s for a whole other debate.

      As for Vick being 31, think of the top QB’s in the league. How many are under 30? Aaron Rodgers is 27. Big Ben is 29. Rivers is 29. If you want to include Matt Ryan, OK. He’s 26. If you want to reach, Flacco is 26. I may be missing a guy, but all the rest are 30+.

    2. Oh, forgot one thing. All the contracts they signed were reasonable. They gave Babin $6 million in guarantees. Jenkins signed what is essentially a 1 year deal for $4 million. Ronnie Brown signed a one year deal for $1 million. In no way did they damage their cap in future years.

  6. Eaglesadvocate says:

    I feel like “All-In” would also indicate that we’ve traded many of our draft picks to acquire this new influx of talent. But we haven’t. We’ve gained draft picks. If the Eagles don’t win it all this year they’ve in fact done what they can to improve their chances in future years. So I agree the all-in phrase isn’t appropriate when the risk of somehow being worse off in future years isn’t there.

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