“Jeffrey Lurie has stated again and again, any time that I’ve been with him, that was as long as he’s the owner of the Philadelphia Eagles Andy Reid would be his coach.” Bob LaMonte, Andy Reid’s longtime agent said this during training camp this year, and it was the first of many head scratching decisions during this season. There was no need for the comment and it can be argued that it began a series of events that helped put the Eagles in this tough position this year. But the issue was not so much that LaMonte made the comment, but that it was true. Andy Reid has now been walking the Eagles sideline for 14 seasons. There have been times where you can make the case he could have been fired, however Jeffrey Lurie has continued to protected his friend from the unemployment line and in doing so he has hurt Reid, the team and himself.
Despite not winning a Super Bowl, Reid’s tenure in Philadelphia has been filled with winning. Yes, it did not include winning when it mattered at times, but even with heartbreak, nearly every year was competitive and entertaining. Everyone could see the Reid era was coming to an end toward the end of the 2000′s, a loss to the Cowboys in the opening round of the playoffs in 2009 was the beginning of the end. While that season and the way it ended may not have been entirely Reid’s fault, Lurie and the front office could have found a way to cut ties amicably at the end of the season, no one would have had an issue with it, Reid’s legacy would have been preserved and the team could have moved in a new direction.
The downfall began after that season, the Eagles fell to 10-6 in 2010 and still won the division but lost in the Wild Card round of the playoffs again and fans began to become frustrated with the lack of results despite a talented team. Again, another opportunity for the team and Reid to part ways on good terms without tarnishing Reid’s time in Philadelphia.
Then the shortened 2011 summer of big moves arrived. Football had avoided a lockout and the Eagles were signing the biggest names on the market, hope was restored for the fans; then the season began. The team was a disaster finishing 8-8, which sounds better than it was after winning the final four meaningless games of the season. The team failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 2007 and frustration at hit a new high. At this point, Reid’s legacy was almost tainted, but you had to believe that it was his time to go after 13 seasons and finishing 8-8 with the talent they had on that team. Again, Lurie stuck by the side of Reid.
That takes us to this offseason and the comments made by Reid’s agent. The comments were followed by Lurie stating that another 8-8 season would not be acceptable for this team, putting the head coach on the hot seat and adding more pressure to the team. Andy Reid preaches to his teams to never quit and always finish strong, there was no doubt in anyones mind that he would never quit his position as head coach. Knowing that, it was up to Lurie to determine when Reid’s time was up in Philly. He has failed to pull the trigger on numerous occasions now and it has hurt the organization as a whole.
Jeffrey Lurie believed that by refusing to fire his friend, Andy Reid that he was helping the team, Reid and himself. However, it is now clear that by not parting ways with Reid through recent years, the legacy that could have been remembered with wins, division titles and playoff appearances will now be remembered with mediocrity, failure to live up to expectations and losing. Lurie has ruined the Andy Reid era and has put himself in a position to be blamed for the lack of success this team has seen recently and may continue to see in the future.