Philadelphia Eagles fans have been called a lot of things over the years and not in the most favorable light. From snowball assaulters on Santa Claus to mean, blood thirsty, raucous boo-birds. But one thing most of the national media doesn’t associate Eagles fans with, is being loyal.
The fans here have endured a lot of heartache over the years, and it started well before Jeffrey Lurie came to town. Since 1970, the Eagles have been in the NFC East and the Philly Faithful have witnessed the other division members win multiple Super Bowls. By the time Lurie took the controls, the Giants won two, the Redskins won three and the Cowboys won four. The Eagles were horrific for most of the ’70′s until Dick Vermeil coached them to prominence late in the decade and all the way to the league championship game in New Orleans after the ’80 season. But the Eagles broke the fans’ hearts by choking as favorites to the Raiders after beating them earlier in the season. Vermeil subsequently burned out and the team went back to the bottom under Marion Campbell.
Buddy Ryan brought a brash, cocky attitude to the city and fans loved him, even though he didn’t win a playoff game. The Eagles were big tough and physical from the late ’80′s through the end of the Rich Kotite debacle in ’94 when Lurie promised us a ‘gold standard’ after all the defensive stars Ryan brought in left town disgusted by former money-grubbing owner, Norman Braman. The regime got off to a good start as Lurie hired Ray Rhodes who took the team to the playoffs his first two seasons, but fizzled in his last two and was replaced by Andy Reid in ’99.
The Eagles under Reid have won a lot of games and Lurie has reaped the financial benefits of it. Even with the draining, four NFC championship failures and the one Super Bowl loss, Lurie could always peer out of his owner’s box and witness a sold out stadium every single week. And what he sees is dollar signs sitting in those high prices seats, instead of a loyal fan base.
These fans have hopefully stuck by the Eagles through some very hopeless times. They’ve watched an expansion franchise, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, lose the first 26 games of their existence and in ’02, beat the Eagles in the NFC Championship Game. They closed the Vet and went on to win the Super Bowl. Most fans remember when before the Superdome was built in New Orleans, the Saints played at Tulane stadium and their fans started a symbol of franchise futility, by wearing paper bags over their heads with the word ‘Aints’ inscribed over the eye cutouts. They also won a Super Bowl before the Eagles have. And by the way, the Giants added two more even though the Eagles owned the division in most of Reid’s tenure.
And despite it all, the Eagles fans have stuck by their team.
Jeffrey Lurie needs to come out of hiding and address the faithful, who have displayed both anger and apathy towards his now unproductive product. He can not allow Reid to make any more personnel decisions now that it’s evident he won’t be the coach next season. Michael Vick should not start another game for the Eagles no matter how much Reid may feel obligated to him. Reid and Lurie owe Vick nothing. They gave him his second chance by bringing him in here and making him the starter, while signing him to another $100 million contract, that they’ll surely opt out of at the end of the season.
Lurie has to look to the future and find out if Nick Foles can play or not. Quarterback is the most important position in sports! He can’t wait! He owes it to himself, the franchise and to those loyal fans, who deserve to be rewarded for their passion. Instead of dealing with an owner who would rather remain loyal to Reid, hoping he gets that one, last win so he can feel good about himself on the way out.