Growing up about 15 minutes from Philadelphia, I’ve learned a few things about Eagles fans: they have an extraordinary amount of passion for their team, they are one of the most dedicated and loyal fan bases in the NFL, and they are empty inside without a Super Bowl ring.
One thing is for certain, however: To fill that gaping hole in their ever-beating heart, Andy Reid has to be part of the equation. In light of Reid’s contract extension, here is an argument for why Philadelphia needs Andy Reid.
[picapp align=”none” wrap=”false” link=”term=andy+reid&iid=6504479″ src=”f/a/9/2/EaglesPanthers_381a.JPG?adImageId=8746525&imageId=6504479″ width=”500″ height=”630″ /]
After taking over for Ray Rhodes’ and after a miserable 3-13 season, Reid’s first coaching season (1999) started off with not much more of a bang than Rhodes’—only winning two more games than the previous year. Yet, that season gave light to the potential of the team for seasons to come. Reid won the team’s first road game in nineteen games to the Chicago Bears, a team whom they haven’t beaten on the road since the time of the Great Depression.
The very next year, the portly coach went 11-5 and lead the Eagles his first post-season appearance. After that, the Eagles won the NFC East four years in a row. In 2004, the Eagles saw their first glimpse at the Super Bowl since 1980: a 21-24 loss to the New England Patriots. Since then, the Eagles, and their fans, haven’t given up hope.
Within eleven seasons, the Eagles have been to the playoffs seven times under Andy Reid’s leadership. To put that in perspective, in 20 years, both the Cincinnati Bengals and the Cleveland Browns have been to the playoffs six times.
The most important thing all Eagles fans should understand when they begin to question Reid’s judgment is that Andy is human. Winning a Super Bowl doesn’t come instantaneously. Fans have to be patient because Reid has got the team pointed in the right direction. There are pieces being added to the puzzle every year: DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, LeSean “Shady” McCoy, etc.
Great NFL coaches throughout history have been through the roller coaster ride of being a successful leader. Legendary coaches like Marty Schottenheimer, considered to be one of the greatest coaches in NFL history, was in the league for 21 years. He hasn’t won a single Super Bowl, nor has he won a Conference Championship. Reid has beaten Schottenheimer’s win percentage of .613 in 21 years, and has done it in about half the time. Bill Cowher took the Pittsburgh Steelers to the Super Bowl twice in 14 years, but only won one. Both of these men are considered two of the best coaches in NFL history.
Reid has taken the team to the Super Bowl once, NFC Championship game twice, and four other playoff spots (plus one more this year). There isn’t much more a coach can do besides just win a Super Bowl. Andy Reid has all the arrows pointing in the right direction, and just needs a little more time and a little more consistent talent on the team. The last time the Eagles were in the Super Bowl was in 2004. Reid had the deadly weapon of Terrell Owens in his prime, the playmaking ability of McNabb, and Jim Johnson’s dominant defense. In five years, the offense and defense haven’t quite clicked like they did in 2004.
This year, things are looking a little different. The Eagles have already clinched a playoff spot and they have the two complementary lethal weapons of DeSean Jackson and Donovan McNabb (comparable to the T.O. and McNabb of ’04). Their defense has been almost as good as in its Jim Johnson hay day, and the team looks to be firing on all cylinders. Maybe this will be the year, but then again, maybe not. All Eagles fans can do is wait, see, and trust. The Eagles are in the right hands. Give them some time, because with the help of Andy Reid their time is almost here.
-Alex Tewfik ’13