With the recent playoff loss by the Phillies, the city of Philadelphia has quickly changed its setting from red to green and put its focus on the city’s beloved Eagles. The Phillies have been a scapegoat for the Eagles the last few seasons due to their deep playoff runs but this year’s early exit has fans unusually rowdy about their “Iggles,” and with their disappointing loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, fans want answers and a change.
That change needs to be at the head coach position!
Andy Reid is the longest tenured head coach in the NFL, but it’s time for him to go and for the Philadelphia Eagles to look towards the future. For 13 seasons now fans have watched as Reid took the Eagles to the brink of winning, only to watch it all end in disappointment. But this season storyline might not even see the team on the brink of winning.
The so-called “dream team,” – a title that has plagued the Eagles since backup quarterback Vince Young saddled the team with the label in August – has been arguably the biggest disappointment this season, with a record of just 1-4. The Eagles aren’t out of it quite yet but the odds are certainly stacked against them. The last team to make the playoffs after a 1-4 start was the 2004 Green Bay Packers and at this pace, the Eagles will be lucky to finish the season with a winning record. It’s not just the fact the Eagles are losing games, but how exactly they are doing losing games.
Last week they took a 20-point lead into the locker room against the San Francisco 49ers, only to watch it slip away as they gave up the winning score with just over a minute to play. This week, the Eagles erased a 17-point deficit in the third quarter and pulled within a touchdown of the Bills, only to blow it at the end of the game thanks to a turnover in the redzone. It was one of five interceptions Michael Vick had on the day.
There is no denying that this team is chock full of talent, but it simply can’t seem to gel together.
When things begin to go this badly the first thing fans and media alike do is blame the head coach but for Andy Reid – who has had mixed feelings from fans for several years now – it seems the front office continues to give him a free pass. In case you are unaware of the Andy Reid saga let’s take a quick look back on his tenure as the Eagles head coach, shall we?
Reid became head coach of the Eagles in 1999, after spending 10 years with the Green Bay Packers, where much of his time was as Mike Holmgren’s protégé. Reid took over an Eagles franchise that was in disarray and in just his second season, led the team to their first playoff berth in four seasons. The Eagles went on to win four consecutive NFC East titles, which lead to four straight NFC East championship games. After the first three consecutive losses, the team made the Super Bowl, falling just short to the New England Patriots, 24-21 in Jacksonville.
The loss was blamed on a combination of awful clock management by Reid and quarterback Donovan McNabb’s failure to once again come through in a big game. This is where the city began to change its opinion for Reid as the Eagles’ fan once again battle disappointment. Reid would lead the team to the playoffs four more times, often with the expectations of being a Super Bowl favorite, but each time it ended in disappointment.
Reid has plenty of issues that have hindered this team over the years. He’s probably the worst game day coach in the NFL and he never seems to be able to get the team ready to play – except for the 12-0 record following the bye week. Too often Philadelphia has come out looking flat and been forced to make a comeback after halftime. Reid cannot seem to effectively manage the clock either, often taking stupid timeouts early in the half, simply because he is unprepared for what might happen next. Then with time running out the Eagles are out of timeouts and look like a three-ringed circus on the field.
A good example came in this week’s loss to Buffalo, late in the first half the Eagles had a chance to kick a field goal before halftime but instead Reid decided to try one more shot in the endzone. Vick was forced to scramble around the pocket on the play, before he threw it away as time retired, costing the Eagles three points that proved costly in the end.
So what did we hear from Reid at the press conference after the loss? The same cookie cut answers that he has been giving for years. If you taped an Andy Reid press conference after a loss in 2005, it would be nearly identical to what he says now, six years later. He dances around the questions, while always blaming himself for the loss and defending other personnel and players. Reid also comes off as rude to the media and is certainly the least friendly of the four major sports’ coaches in Philadelphia, which is not an easy place to play of coach.
But now the time is here, a time for a new coach and a new era in Philadelphia. A coach that can break free of either a year of mediocrity or a year of disappointment and lead the Eagles to their first championship in 61 years. In a working class football town that is starving for a championship, it’s no longer good enough to be a contender; the Eagles have had that title for far too long. The City of Brotherly Love wants the title of champion.
Photo courtesy of the Associated Press.