This is right around the time the shrine appeared in the Philadelphia Eagles’ locker room last season.
Carson Wentz was headed to the sideline with a stress fracture in his back, thus placing the fate of the team’s playoff push in the hands of Nick Foles for a second straight year.
Defensive end Chris Long was such a devout believer in Saint Nick’s ability to bring some holiday cheer — and a spot in the postseason — to the team that he built an homage to the MVP of Super Bowl LII in his cubicle at the NovaCare Complex.
He filled the top of his locker with some candles, incense, a photo of Foles from when he was Long’s teammate with the St. Louis Rams in 2015, and a copy of Foles’ book, “Believe It.”
“Nick’s been there to bail us out when we’ve had injuries before,” Long said at the time. “I think this will bring us some energy.”
Foles brought energy to the team through his personality and performance. He threw for a franchise-record 471 yards and four touchdowns while bouncing back from a vicious hit by Houston’s Jadeveon Clowney to clinch a 32-30 win over Houston.
A week later, he tied a NFL record with 25 consecutive completions in a 24-0 win at Washington that helped the Eagles sneak into the playoffs as the sixth seed.
“It’s Christmas,” Long said. “You just knew St. Nick was going to come through for us.”
’Tis the season again, but now it will be up to Wentz to deliver the Christmas miracle.
Long is retired and entertaining Twitter followers under the name “Chris Long AKA Decaf Metcalf.”
Foles is banished to the bench in Jacksonville, where the Jaguars are banking that “Minshew Mania” and some fake mustaches will disguise the fact the team stinks.
The Eagles have no way of masking their current, sad state.
Statistics aside, Wentz is struggling at a time of year when a quarterback should be flourishing. The confidence and leadership that he displayed during the 2017 season is gone.
His coaches and supporting cast have been no help. Doug Pederson does not deserve to lose his job, but clearly is in need of an offensive coordinator that he trusts.
Tight end Zach Ertz, wide receiver Nelson Agholor and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery have been injured and inconsistent.
Jim Schwartz’s defense had been playing well, but somehow managed to fall apart in Miami. The only thing uglier than cornerback Jalen Mills’ coverage was the orange jacket-and-shorts combo with matching sneakers he wore on the team plane to South Florida.
You saw what can happen when a quarterback refuses to wilt, who finds a way to rally his team. Ryan Fitzpatrick did it for the Dolphins last Sunday, using that special brand of “Fitz Magic” to ruin the road trip of the thousands of Eagles fans who had flown south for the winter weekend.
That’s the same direction the Eagles are heading.
At 5-7, they still have a chance of reaching the playoffs. If they win their final four games against the New York Giants (2-9), Washington (3-8), Dallas (6-6) and the Giants again, they will win the NFC East based on a tiebreaker with the Cowboys.
But it’s not likely. According to the New York Times’ weekly probability chart, the Eagles have a 27% chance of reaching the postseason for a third straight season.
Now would be a good time for another Christmas miracle.
Unfortunately, St. Nick isn’t here to deliver one.
And no one’s building a Josh McCown shrine.
David Weinberg’s Extra Points column appears Tuesday and Saturdays online and Wednesdays and Sundays in The Press.