Monday, December 31, 2012

Like Him or Not, Andy Reid is the Greatest Eagles Coach in the Super Bowl Era

Yesterday was the final game of the Andy Reid era in Philadelphia, as the coach who roamed the sidelines starting at the Vet in 1999, onto Lincoln Financial Field and ending his tenure at the New Meadwolands was officially given his pink slip on New Year's Eve, 2012.

(via The700Level)

While the pathetic 42-7 loss to the Giants put an emphatic stamp on an all-around dreadful season, this loss, this season, the past three seasons really were simply proof that time has and probably already had come for Reid in Philadelphia. Ever since Donovan McNabb and Jim Johnson left, the Eagles have not been the same team as they were during the lion's share of Reid's tenure.

But that doesn't take away from the fact that Reid turned around a laughingstock of a franchise, raised expectations and had some remarkable success. Ultimately, he was never able to get to the summit, but he damn near always had the Eagles in position to be there at the end. It's no secret that he was frustrating over the years, but it's also no secret that he was one of the most successful coaches in NFL history.

And I'm tempted to say he's the greatest coach in franchise history, but then I heard Ray Didinger say he was the second best coach in Eagles history in his mind, behind Greasy Neale, who coached the Eagles to back-to-back championships prior to the Super Bowl era. So maybe Reid isn't' the best coach in franchise history, but he is unquestionably the best Eagles coach of the Super Bowl era. He had unparalleled success, and ultimately, he made us care even more about the Eagles again. For that, I will be forever thankful.

Now, I could probably go on a lot more than I already have, but truthfully, I've already done that earlier this season here and even last season here.

So instead I'll defer to two of best Eagles writers out there, in my opinion: Sheil Kapadia (who actually was on the sports staff of the Daily Collegian at Penn State with me) and Rich Hofmann.

"Cheat Sheet: Ten Thoughts On the Eagles"
5. I’ve made this point before, but it bears repeating: Eagles fans can appreciate what Reid accomplished and still think it’s time to move on. That point seems to be lost on many in the national media, and you’re going to hear a lot of analysts next week talk about how under-appreciated Reid was in Philadelphia. But the truth is, this team is 12-19 in its last 31 games. The franchise has not won a playoff game in four seasons. The coaching staff has been in disarray. And the quarterback situation is up in the air. Reid has accomplished a lot and given fans many great memories, but it’s time to go in a different direction. It’s really as simple as that.

"Andy Reid's legacy: Raised expectations for Eagles"
Reid was different. He did not connect on an emotional level with the fan base. He simply coached well enough and consistently enough to raise their expectations to a place where they had never been. He threw too much, and he butchered the clock for years, and he lost every press conference, but he made the playoffs nine times and went to five NFC Championship Games and one Super Bowl. It was not enough for him or for you - but the reason was because of those raised expectations.

Think back to the early 1970s, if you are old enough, or to 1983, or 1994, or 1998. Through most of those decades, failure was the house guest who never seemed to leave for very long. For the Eagles, for much of their history, the good times were just hiccups. A run of nine playoff appearances in 11 seasons would have been inconceivable.

Make no mistake: Reid deserves to be fired. After 8-8 and 4-12, it is time. But as he sped away on that security cart on Sunday night, heading for an unknown future, it was hard not to wonder about what life is about to become for the Eagles. Because whoever replaces him has to know that the job is harder than the one Andy Reid took over in 1999 because the expectations are so much greater. That is the man's legacy.

As I said yesterday:

(via CSNPhilly)

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