The Philadelphia Eagles were dubbed the “Dream Team” by backup quarterback Vince Young, who was among the big names to join the team in the off-season. The Indianapolis Colts began the season riding a streak of nine consecutive double-digit win years, and the Chicago Bears were coming off an NFC Championship Game appearance.
Now, as Week 14 of this NFL season approaches, it has turned into a bad dream in Philly and Indy. And, after two straight losses, it could be a nightmare finish in Chicago.
The biggest reason? Injuries to starting quarterbacks.
The Eagles (4-8) lost Michael Vick to broken ribs three weeks ago. The Colts (0-12) are winless without four-time NFL MVP Peyton Manning, out for the year after neck surgery. The playoff prospects of the Bears (7-5) were hurt after losing Jay Cutler to a broken thumb on November 20.
These teams are not alone in staggering through key injuries. The Minnesota Vikings (2-10) have dropped four in a row since losing All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson to a high ankle sprain.
Injuries hurt not only the player and a team’s record, but the pain is felt by ticket sellers, too.
“Even if it was another 10-6 year, we’d be doing fine,” Mike Peduto, owner of Circle City Tickets in Indianapolis, told TicketNews. Then again, no one could have predicted the loss of one player would send a team from 10 wins last season to zero so far this season.
The latest edition of NFL Magazine even went so far as to tout Manning as the league’s MVP this season because of the value he has shown by not playing. Needless to say, the Colts’ final two home games — December 18 against the Tennessee Titans and a Thursday nighter, December 22, against the Houston Texans — aren’t big sellers.
In Chicago, the playoffs are still well within the Bears’ reach. However, broker Max Waisvisz, owner of Gold Coast Tickets in Chicago, sees the tailspin continuing with Cutler out.
“When a quarterback goes down, it’s all over,” Waisvisz told TicketNews. “They’re not making the playoffs. They lost to Oakland, then Kansas City.”
Data from ticket search and analysis site SeatGeek shows the average resale price for Bears tickets at Soldier Field dropped from $249.43 before the Cutler injury to $188.22 after. In Philadelphia, the average price was $183.34 for the home game prior to the Vick injury and $168.93 after. Minnesota dropped from $98.64 to $84.79 after Peterson went down.
SeatGeek found similar price drops for the Buffalo Bills and Houston Texans after injuries to Bills running back Fred Jackson and Texans quarterback Matt Schaub. While the Texans (9-3) have overcome losing Schaub, the Bills (5-7) have plummeted.
The Bears have one home game left against the Seattle Seahawks on December 18.
“I’m trying to dump [the tickets] and get out,” Waisvisz said. “I was lucky to have had the kind of season I did early on.”
Caleb Hanie is expected to continue to start at quarterback for Chicago, but there had been rumors of the Bears looking to sign a more experienced QB. While a Brett Favre signing by the Bears would have sold some tickets, all indications are that, this time, Favre will be staying on his tractor in Mississippi.
“I would’ve loved it,” Waisvisz said. “If Favre were serious, could you imagine that?”
Philadelphia broker Jake Conaway, general manager of Wanamaker Ticket Agency in Philly, told TicketNews that he took advantage of strong demand for Eagles tickets back when hopes were high.
“For us, we’re such a football city, we sold a lot of our inventory before the season,” Conaway said.
The Eagles have home games remaining with the New York Jets on December 18 and the Washington Redskins on January 1. The Jets game has an average resale price of $179 on SeatGeek, and the Redskins game is averaging $166.
The Eagles still have an outside shot at a playoff berth with an 8-8 finish, so it’s not all doom and gloom.
“Right now, our most desirable game left is the Redskins on New Year’s Day. Plus, we have the Winter Classic right behind it,” Conaway said, referencing the outdoor NHL game January 2 between the Philadelphia Flyers and the New York Rangers at Citizens Bank Park. “So, that’s still shaping up as a big sports weekend.”