Andy Reid Era Continues: Eagles Extend Head Coach Through 2013

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Philly's Folly: Like Tiger Woods, But More Mediocre

It would be next to impossible to top Tiger Woods for “most shocking, head-exploding news of the month.” The most clean-cut athlete of the current generation was revealed to be leading a full-fledged double life, complete with Ambien sex and filandering of Chamberlain proportions (Wilt, not Neville).

And in some ways, it’s a good thing; at least now, Tiger Woods’ inevitable biopic will be much more interesting, especially when he reinvents himself six months from now. The only thing media loves more than destroying its icons is trumpeting their redemption. 

Tiger: Birdies, Bogeys, and Saving Par will be a cant-miss blockbuster in 2025. Mark it down.

But this morning came news that might just blow the Tiger story out of the water. Andy Reid signed a contract extension?! Are you kidding me? On its face, maybe we’re not talking about something as sexy as the Tiger Woods stuff, but good lord. Every bit as galling. The only reason Andy Reid will never be the subject of a biopic (Mustache Mediocrity, if you were wondering) is because that movie would just be a sad, never-ending loop of disappointment and underwhelming performances. At least Tiger’s going down in flames; this move by Philly is more of quiet resignation to perpetual disappointment.

As a fan of a rival NFC East team, I’m elated, but as someone trying objectively appraise the NFL, it’s just perplexing. Not because Andy Reid’s a terrible coach; but because the Eagles have been so good, for so long, and their annual disappointment has become an unofficial theme over the years. Like the Steelers’ terrible towel or Al Davis’ dementia, it’s something you can count on every season: Andy Reid will cost the Eagles at least three games, and everyone will wonder why nobody realizes he’s such an awful coach.

Around the league, I guess he’s got a reputation as a brilliant football mind; an X’s-and-O’s genius, or something. And that’s fine. This is the same league that’s annointed Tony Dungy the unofficial spokesman for moral virtue. Some things just get perpetuated among the mainstream and resonate with people, regardless of whether it’s true. A month ago, we thought Tiger was the classiest athlete of his generation. We all make mistakes, ya know?

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But the Eagles’ management — owner Jeffrey Lurie and whoever else made this decision — presumably watches all the Eagles games. And anyone that actually watches the games will see at least one or two instances of ghastly clock management, one or two wasted possessions in the Red Zone, and a cute, tragic reliance on the arm and legs of Donovan McNabb, the Simon to Reid’s Garfunkel when it comes to underwhelming fans. EVERY WEEK, they do this.

And yet, year in and year out, Philadelphia has stuck with McNabb and Andy Reid. The former’s understandable; it’s easy to bemoan the underperformance of your star quarterback, but much harder to go out and find another one. So keeping McNabb — despite his one-hoppers, the injuries, and all the other fun stuff that comes with The Donovan McNabb experience — makes some sense.

Tying your future to Reid, though, who’s never won a Super Bowl, and finished last in the NFC East 2 of the past 4 years, just smacks of laziness. Like McNabb, he’s a better coach than a lot of others in the NFL. And to be fair, it’s easy to criticize a coach for mismanagement; they make roughly 500 difficult decisions a game, and nobody’s perfect. Again, we all make mistakes. But Andy Reid has proven, time and again, that he makes the same mistakes.

Despite consistently talented teams — and the mastery of his legendary defensive coordinator, the late Jim Johnson — Andy Reid has yet to deliver on the promise of his rosters. At some point, it’s time to switch things up and see what happens. How many times can you go 10-6 and lose in the NFC Championship game before someone steps up and says, “Why don’t we try it with someone else?”

Again, I’m not even an Eagles fan, but the redundant storylines of Andy Reid — freezing in crunch time, or the Eagles getting stopped on the two-yardline after passing on four consecutive downs — are enough to make you want to take an assault rifle to your TV. Good football teams deserve good coaches, and regardless of how you feel about Philly fans or Donovan McNabb’s whiny ethos with the media, that’s a good football team in Philadelphia.

They’ve had a good defense for nearly the entire decade, and against all odds in this contemporary era of parody, nearly that entire time, the Eagles have had the pieces in place for a title run. Andy Reid deserves credit for assembling some of those pieces, of course, but again: he’s proven he can’t take them to the next level. Shouldn’t the goal be to actually win a Super Bowl? If anything, over the past few years his shortcomings have been exaggerated.

So in 2013, when the Eagles still haven’t won anything meaningful you hear “Andy Reid, entering his fourteenth year as Eagles Head Coach” please, think of Tiger Woods drinking champagne and popping ambien in some gross Vegas nightclub. Not as sexy, but just as dumbfounding. Some things in sports just boggle the mind.

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