Thursday, December 29, 2011

Andy Reid..Times Up?

Before this season I was an Andy Reid supporter.  During this season I joined the Andy must go club.  One of the classic pictures of 2011 was taken at an Occupy Wall Street rally in Philadelphia where in the background a guy was holding a sign that read: "Fire the Fat Man".  I too am on the heftier side of plump so I can find humor in that sign with no guilt.  In researching for this post I found my thoughts on Reid to be somewhere in the middle.  My friends will tell you that I stopped getting together with them to watch the games this season and instead watched them on my own at home.  I went as far as too even put it in writing that I would not get together with them until Andy Reid was no longer the head coach of the Eagles.  Now I'm not so sure.

Every Eagles fan and NFL guy knows the story.  Reid was hired in 1999 with no head coaching or even coordinator experience under his very large belt.  He was a surprise hire that has worked out pretty well.  Reid rebuilt the Eagles and turned them into not jut playoff contenders but playoff staples for almost all 13 of his seasons as head coach.  The Eagles have made the playoffs 9 of his 13 seasons only missing them in 1999, 2005, 2007 and now in 2011.  With a career regular season win total of 125 - 81 going into the final game of the season this weekend and a 10-9 post season record, Reid has proven to be one of the best head coaches in the NFL.

The biggest questions this season were 1. After 13 seasons as head coach has Reid's message gone sour?  2. Has he lost the locker room?  3. Is it time for a change?  Philadelphia is one of the toughest places to play and an even tougher place to coach.  Many teams and cities would never have this conversation if Reid was their coach and had the resume that he does.  The answer to the questions above, according to what players have said publicly, is no to all three.  But in a town that is starved for a super bowl win, championship games and wildcard births year in and year out just won't cut it.  The question all Eagle fans, including me must ask themselves is: Is the grass greener on the other side? 

Names constantly pop up such as Cowher, Gruden and Fisher as potential replacements, but are they better?  Cowher took forever to win a super bowl with the Stealers.  Gruden won with Tony Dungy's Tampa Bay team over his former team and Fisher only went to one super bowl in 16 seasons.  I think as fans, the Eagles are the only team that we watch week in and week out and every other team in our minds has a better situation when things go bad.  But if we are being honest things have rarely gone bad over the past thirteen years.

This season can be explained away.  The off season was short and the Eagles had a lot of new players and personnel. They did blow 5 fourth quarter leads and lost to non playoff teams Buffalo, Chicago, Arizona and Seattle.  However, they could end the season at 5-1 in the division and with four straight wins to get to a respectful 8-8.  What really killed this season was the Dream Team comment, by a guy that won't be on the roster next season.  The thing to keep in mind is that this season was like no other in recent memory and some teams suffered because of it.

With two years and about $10 million left on his contract the Eagles won't fire Andy Reid this off season.  The only way Reid is gone before his contract is up is if he chooses to walk away.  I think he may deserve another season with a full off season to work with.  It took some time to gel, but with the way the Eagles have played the last three weeks and hopefully this week Reid has shown what this team should've looked like all season. I never have an issue eating anything but I'm going to have to eat my words and begin watching the games with my friends again.  I may never live it down, but even with my level headed thought a large number of Eagles fans will refuse to see how good they have it just like I did for most of this season.

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