This past Sunday afternoon, tens of thousands of Philadelphia Eagles fans sat at the Linc, in their living rooms, or in their neighborhood watering holes, rooting on their beloved football team.
And as we watched the Eagles slowly unravel in the fourth quarter yet again this season, the question that many of us have been trying to avoid for weeks slowly began to create a sense of doubt in the backs of our heads…
Are we going about this the wrong way?
It’s clear that something needs to change. When a team loaded with offensive talent adds Nnamdi Asomugha, Jason Babin, Cullen Jenkins and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in a busy offseason, there is no reason that team should ever begin a year with a 3-6 record. None.
We all know what needs to happen. We’d guess that nothing is going to happen unless the wheels completely fall off of this thing. And while it’s hard for many of us to reconcile the fact that losing games is a good thing in the long term, it may be the only way for our team to reclaim its past glory.
Because at this point, isn’t rooting for Andy Reid akin to embracing mediocrity?
For the better part of 13 years, Reid has been the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. And for the 13th year – barring a miracle from on high – Reid will not be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy at season’s end.
In just two short months, the mood surrounding this team has gone from excitement to concern to flat-out apathy. We’ve pretty much resigned ourselves to cheering for a squad that’s no better than mediocre, despite a roster filled with former Pro Bowlers.
Yet we continue to watch. Granted, it’s probably ingrained somehow in our double helixes, but we continue to hope and wish and pray that the Eagles win each week, even though that just means we’ll get more of the same out of Reid. It’s only fair we’re put out of our misery.
Andy Reid apologists will be quick to suggest that their beloved coach deserves a mulligan for 2011. After all, the Eagles haven’t had a losing season since 2005, and the team has won six division titles and an NFC Championship during his tenure.
But here’s the thing: Andy Reid doesn’t deserve anything. As those mutual fund commercials have taught us, past performance is not an indicator of future success. So if Andy Reid isn’t the best option to lead the Eagles to the Super Bowl, then the team owes it to itself – and to us, by extension – to hire the best man for the job.
That isn’t to say that the team has quit on Reid this year. But there’s no excuse for losing to a 2-6 Arizona team at home, especially with the Cardinals missing the services of Kevin Kolb.
Sure, the Eagles were without one of their most potent weapons on offense (Desean Jackson) on Sunday. But with the best dual-threat RB in the NFL (Lesean McCoy), a Pro Bowl-caliber wideout (Jeremy Maclin), and a $100 million man at quarterback (Michael Vick), scoring 10 points on offense against the league’s fourth-worst pass defense is completely unacceptable.
This isn’t as bad as 1998 – the final year of the Ray Rhodes era when the team went winless on the road and only scored 161 points for the entire season. Nor is it as dreadful as the 1994 campaign when the Eagles lost their last seven games, ushering in the end of the Rich Kotite era. But it isn’t far off, and it’s not over yet.
This weekend, we saw the Eagles blow a 4th quarter lead for the fifth time in nine games – an NFL record. And yet after the game, Reid provided the same rote answers he always does when speaking to the media.
Not that we should have expected anything of substance. These days, Andy Reid press conferences are nothing more than the verbal equivalent of a paint-by-numbers exercise.
Let the record show that this is a man who was arrogant enough to name his offensive line coach his defensive coordinator, and then bristle at the suggestion that it wasn’t the most logical choice. Of course, this is also a man who has enjoyed carte blanche ever since he arrived in Philadelphia back in 1999.
But until that’s taken away from him, we are forced to deal with someone who – after more a decade at the helm – still struggles with the not-so-finer points of time management. A mediocre talent evaluator whose recent draft history leaves plenty to be desired. And a head coach who can make decisions without consequence until the one man who can effect a change finally comes to the realization that most of us have consented to long ago.
Jeffery Lurie? Time’s yours.