Monday, February 6, 2012

The Andy Reid Era


Another NFL season has now finally come to an end with my hometown Philadelphia Eagles failing to win the Super Bowl for the first time in franchise history. That's 0-46 if you're counting at home. To listen to some fans around these parts, you would think that Andy Reid has been the head coach for all of them, that he is to blame for the team never having won the Big One.

Let's get a little perspective.

The Philadelphia Eagles regular season record in the 'Andy Reid Era' is now 126-81-1. He has guided the team to 9 playoff appearances in 13 seasons, with an overall 10-9 record in the post-season. He has guided the Eagles to 7 NFC East titles, and 9 times under his watch the Eagles have been ranked either #1 or #2 in the NFC at season's end. He led the team to the 2004 NFC Championship, it's lone Super Bowl appearance during his tenure.

I began watching the Eagles around 1971-72 when Veteran's Stadium opened with Eddie Khayat at the helm. Watched through the regimes of Mike McCormack, Dick Vermiel, Marion Campbell, Buddy Ryan, Rich Kotite, and Ray Rhodes.

During that time: 204-216-6, 10 playoff appearances, 1 Super Bowl appearance over 28 seasons. Khayat - overwhelmed. McCormack - great player, mediocre coach. Vermiel - overly emotional, burned out quick. Campbell - defensive whiz, not a head man. Ryan - big mouthed defensive genius, zero playoff wins, more bark than bite. Kotite - 'nuff said. Rhodes - no comment, politically incorrect.

In short, Andy Reid is by FAR the best coach the Eagles have had in my 40 years following them. In fact, you can stretch that back through Jerry Williams, Joe Kuharich, and Nick Skorich - he is the best coach the Eagles have had in my half-century of LIFE.

One day, Andy Reid will either be fired, or resign, or not have a contract renewed, or die, and he will no longer be the Eagles head coach. Many will be joyous on that day. I personally believe that they will find the old saying true: the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence. This goes too for the folks at the local radio station that the Reid-haters follow like zombies.

WIP frankly stinks as far as being a "sports talk" station. They cover the Eagles too much, pay short shrift to the other sports, including the Phillies who should have been followed much more over these last half dozen to dozen years. They try to make the news rather than report it. They stoke negative emotional fires in the fans. They lie and claim they are just reflecting, when in fact they are orchestrating.

I love the Philadelphia Eagles, and I love Andy Reid and the job he has done as their head coach. For me, the bottom line will NEVER be about simply winning a Super Bowl. I would HATE it if some coach came in and over 8 years won a Super Bowl, but had six sub-.500 seasons. And frankly, those who loved that theoretical Super Bowl win, who could "die happy now" having witnessed it, and who danced gleefully on Reid's coaching grave as they gloated? I would love to hear them during the losing years talk about the brilliance of their one-season winner.

Because YOU passionately hate Andy Reid, you do NOT love the Eagles more than me. You will NOT celebrate a Super Bowl won under his regime or another coach's regime more than me. You are not more passionate or knowledgeable than me. You are simply a hater. You don't like Reid because he doesn't rat out his players in press conferences. You don't like Reid because he doesn't manage a clock well, despite a record to the contrary. You don't like Reid because he is too fat.

Face it, haters, nothing, not even winning a Super Bowl, will ever be enough. If Andy Reid and the Eagles ever do win a Super Bowl together, you will say that he should have won more. He was lucky. He had to finally win one after getting there so many times. Blah, blah, blah. Your team will have reached the mountaintop finally, and you simply will not enjoy it as much as you should because of your blind hatred for Reid as he is carried off the field by his players. Yes, they will carry him off.

If it were simple frustration, that I totally understand. It's where I am at right now. To know that after the Giants winning their 4th Super Bowl yesterday, that our NFC East divisional rival Cowboys (5), Giants (4), and Redskins (3) all have multiple Super Bowl crowns while we have none is frustrating. To know that we fielded a better team many years than each of those teams makes it more frustrating. To know that we have been good enough to have won a Super Bowl over the last decade extends the frustration.

But you're beyond frustrated. You hate. That is legitimately sad, and it reflects poorly on your judgement and character.

Next year is the final year of Andy Reid's contract, unless he is given an extension, if he even wants one. I hope he either gets it, or walks out the door with the Lombardi Trophy, or both. But no matter what, when the Andy Reid Era is over, I for one, and I bet there are many in retrospect, will always look back with fondness on this time, the greatest era in the modern history of the Philadelphia Eagles.

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