The Philadelphia Eagles: A Dynasty Denied (By: @BWMahoney213)
The Philadelphia Eagles: A Dynasty Denied
The title speaks for itself. Anyone that has tuned in on Sundays since Andy Reid’s first regular season game back in 1999 will know that he has a history of blowing it in big fashion.
My first point (among many) will be his first game when the Eagles’ 1999 home opener opened with an astounding 24-6 halftime lead over the lowly Arizona Cardinals featuring a novice quarterback named Jake “The Snake” Plummer.
Snake-bitten has truly defined Reid’s tenure. He has coached 212 regular season games and 231 overall games adding on playoff games for the Philadelphia Eagles (as of October 17, 2012). Fourteen years of trial and error. The organization’s defining moments that will be recorded in history books long after we’re gone will lay claim to this Reid era as one of exhaustion, repetition, and disorganization.
Not to mention failure.
“I’ve got to do a better job,” Reid mumbles after every post-game press conference to the media in all his 91 losses (and 1 head-scratching tie in 2008).
Exhaustion starts with the fact that Reid has regressed since the Eagles’ lone Super Bowl appearance in February of 2005 where the decade’s dynasty team New England Patriots outplayed and outcoached Reid in a 24-21 Philadelphia letdown. Since that game, Reid has posted a 65-52-1 regular season record. Alongside a 3-4 postseason record, something has been fishy in the water.
It’s easy to throw superficial numbers, but it’s easy to see that on-the-field play performance does not meet the potential educated fans come to expect.
To put his tenure in a nutshell, those glory years of 2000 to 2002 were capped by so much hope. Quarterback prodigy Donovan McNabb was blossoming fast. It felt as though the room for adjustments were necessary since the young Eagles dominated fair opponents and struggled with the big sluggers of the New York Giants and St. Louis Rams.
Then came 2002. The Eagles impressively defeated John Gruden’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers in October, so you’d think the advantage favored a fully-loaded Eagles in the NFC Championship Game to close out the legacy of Veterans Stadium in January of that same season? Nope. The only ingrained images come from that game are wide receiver Joe Jurevicius and cornerback Ronde Barber running untouched down the field in a 27-10 loss that still plagues the city.
By the next year, it became apparent that Andy Reid and management ignored the possibility to give McNabb some legitimate ammo at wide receiver besides James Thrash, Todd Pinkston, Freddie Mitchell, and Greg Lewis. None of which really did terrorize NFL secondaries.
So Reid needed a quick fix. Hallelujah—Terrell Owens. Who could forget him? He helped the Eagles dominate the NFC leading up to a Super Bowl XXXIX loss (previously mentioned) that featured many questionable moments in Reid’s clock management.
In 2005, McNabb needed hernia surgery and the season was a reasonable wash-out (along with T.O.’s media circus to drive him out of town over a contract dispute).
2006 featured a string of two straight NFC South matchups (versus the Bucs, and New Orleans Saints) where the Eagles lost in the final seconds by field goals. It seems as though that trend stayed with Reid’s legacy. If anyone logically looked at the last two weeks of the 2012 season (versus the Pittsburgh Steelers and the overtime field goal by the Detroit Lions), it’s easy to see the execution of containing an opponent may not be Reid’s forte.
Back on to the timeline, the 2007 Eagles showed little fire from their offense and essentially faced a better division (Giants, Cowboys, and Redskins all making the playoffs).
In 2008, the Eagles acknowledged McNabb’s age and health was of concern, so having backup Kevin Kolb (in a bold trade with the Dallas Cowboys) pushed the offense to click on all cylinders. By virtue of an unlikely series of events, the Eagles charged into the playoffs and even beat the favored New York Giants to be in another NFC Championship Game, facing off against the Arizona Cardinals. Yet another letdown in a high-stakes game. After that season, the venerable and beloved defensive coordinator Jim Johnson passed away.
2009 saw another series of winnable games go down the tube (including one at Oakland of all places) to only see the Eagles limp into the playoffs. The biggest doozy of it all was that the Eagles faced the Cowboys in the final regular season game (with the NFC East title on the line) and fell 24-0. The next game stank the same stench, proving Reid nor could his players adjust well enough against the Cowboys on the way to a 34-14 loss.
Who got the shaft for their loss—Donovan McNabb, of course. The Eagles didn’t want to scare fans of a rebuilding phase, but trading McNabb was an intriguing decision to say the least because now Kevin Kolb was to anchor the offense. Thanks to Clay Matthews concussing Kolb, the Eagles never did see how he could perform when QB Michael Vick confused defenses and led a number of big wins in 2010.
But that was 2010. 2011 faired much worse than expected for Vick and the rest of the team. Now everyone knows how to manipulate the entire Eagles’ vulnerabilities and Reid still has nothing to show for it. Everything is like fitting a circular sphere in a square box. One thing works but not another. The tenacity of running back LeSean McCoy is overlooked by his spotty offensive line and playcalling of Reid, especially when it comes to goal-line stands.
2012 is six weeks in and nothing has drastically changed. Reid is outsmarted by everyone and the three wins are nothing short of luck. The Eagles could be 0-6 this year if the luck for Reid has not yet run out.
If it has, then the next game versus the Atlanta Falcons will be beautifully bittersweet if it is a loss, because that means it’s one step closer to the incompetence coming to an end.