Robert De Niro's directorial debut was a movie called A Bronx Tale, set in a 1960's Bronx neighborhood with many lessons and social overtones portrayed throughout the 1993 film. One of the lines delivered by De Niro to his son, who begins hanging out with a local mobster, is, "The saddest thing in life is wasted talent."
The sports world deals with talent more than just about any other place. In professional sports, if someone sees talent or potential in you, you've got a job. Even in everyday life, talent gets you places. The talent is so great in some instances, the player or person can get away with their other shortcomings. The talent can hide many flaws.
Perhaps the collection of talent on one team is so great someone might call it a "dream team." Fans and media like to build expectations in those situations. Sometimes it's all too much, and even players on the team by into the hype before a game is even played, thinking other teams can't compete.
In the NFL, every team has talent. Some more than others and it's those teams that must avoid wasting it. Every year there's disappointing teams but this year's Philadelphia Eagles is taking wasted talent to extremes.
The Eagles were a 10-6 playoff team last year and lost to the eventual-champion Packers in the wildcard round. During the tumultuous offseason that featured a 132-day lockout, the Eagles spent money on Pro Bowl free agents like they were the Yankees.
They signed numerous of the "top free agents" available. The Eagles signed Michael Vick to a contract potentially worth over $100 million. They got a Pro Bowl quarterback to back up Vick - Vince Young, who made the ill-fated "dream team" comments before the season.
Today the Eagles are 4-8 after losing by 17 points to a 4-7 Seattle team Thursday night. They're out of the playoffs, Vick hasn't played in a month, and Andy Reid's head coaching future in Philly looks to be on life support.
Philadelphia's defense can't tackle, their top playmaker, DeSean Jackson, sleeps through meetings, and everybody in Philly wants answers. Someone to explain how a team loaded with talent is playing like one of the worst teams in the league.
It could be the coach, or the players, or the preseason bravado, or the outrageous salaries, or all of the above. One thing's clear: the 2011 Philadelphia Eagles wasted their talent this season.