Fourteen years in any sport is an eternity. Most player’s careers start and end well before then. But a coach’s career can last as long as he wants, provided he’s good. However, Eagles fans have been shackled with Andy Reid, who within this time period, hasn’t been very good since his one Super Bowl appearance after the 2004 season.
Reid’s regular season record during this stretch is 66-60 (not including Sunday at the Giants) and 3-4 in the playoffs, winning two in 2008 en route to his last NFC championship loss to Arizona as the favorite. In those eight seasons, the Eagles have missed the playoffs half the time, including this season. And as his tenure here comes to an overdue end, he’s leaving a team that has fallen to the basement of the NFC East at 4-11, while the three others battle for a playoff spot in their season finales.
One of Merriam-Webster’s definitions of hope is: desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment. Hope is something Eagles fans know very well. The desire for a football parade down Broad St and a belief that Andy Reid would fulfill that. But after fourteen years, hope has become the apex of disappointment. Reid transformed the Eagles from a 3-13 team under Ray Rhodes, to a serious contender in two years. That quick of a turnaround led Eagles fans to gobble up merchandise with anticipation of showcasing their fresh apparel as they watched Reid and his players hoist the Lombardi trophy. But after back to back heartbreaking NFC championship home losses, the fans still had hope and were finally rewarded as the Eagles finally got over the hump and beat Atlanta before losing a close Super Bowl to New England. Terrell Owens became a hero in this town as he almost single-handedly won the game after returning from a broken leg.
But he couldn’t get along with Donovan McNabb or management and Reid was incapable of bridging the gap and T.O. was no more in Philly. And he left, leaving Eagles fans wanting more and unsatisfied. That sequence of events seemed to be the turning point of Reid’s tenure. Since then his player personnel decisions, in particular, have been subpar and fans became more frustrated. His draft choices have been bad and most of this teams better players have been free agent signings because of it.
Think about who Eagles fans put on pedestals. Reggie White, Brian Dawkins, Jeremiah Trotter, Hugh Douglas, Ron Jaworski and Brian Westbrook. These player’s names are the ones that most Eagles fans mention when they talk about what epitomizes a great Eagle. But with all do respect to these men, they all were ultimate losers here! It’s just what the fans here are left with. Idolizing players that were great players individually, but not a Super Bowl winner in an Eagle uniform. Notice only one that Reid drafted, is spoken about in those terms, because all the fans respected how he played.
The one aspect of Eagles-past, that seemed to really fire up this blue-collar fan base more than anything, is tough hard-nosed defense. That element has surely been lacking since 2008, when the late-Jim Johnson last coordinated the defense.
As much as this is a passing league and is all about offense, Jeffrey Laurie and Howie Roseman need to check the history and look into bringing in a defensive-minded coach who can bring size and toughness to a defense that lacks both. And give the Eagles, as a whole, a culture change.
Because for the last fourteen years, being an Eagles fan is like dating a pretty woman, getting to third base and then finding out his name was Andy.