For the past several years, it was a marriage on the rocks. After years of living the good life, the wheels were coming off and things were hitting rock bottom, both on and off the field. What was once a well-oiled machine, the standard bearer of the NFC East, the Eagles were plummeting like a rock.
In the beginning, and even up until a few years ago, Eagles fans loved Andy Reid. Sure, he had his flaws-most coaches do. But he won a lot more than he lost, and he consistently had the Eagles in contention-something that virtually no other Eagles coach had done prior to Reid’s arrival. Sure, they had their runs, but no previous head coach had the Eagles performing so good for so long. But, as they say, all good things must come to an end, and after 14 years at the helm, Reid was shown the door at the end of last season.
It’s hard saying goodbye to someone of Reid’s caliber-he left the Eagles with more wins than any other coach in Eagles history-more than double the second best coach. Over three times as many playoff wins as the second best coach. In 14 years, his teams made the playoffs 9 times, 6 as the NFC East champion. From 2000 through 2010, the Eagles for all intents and purposes dominated the NFC East (excluding 2005 and 2007).
But at the end of the run, the writing was on the wall. In terms of on-field decisions, Reid and the front office were under fire, and their were reports of in-fighting and second-guessing-the opposite of how things had been run during the decade of dominance. At the end, there were a number of questionable personnel moves made-hiring their long time offensive line coach to fill the defensive coordinator position, for one. Going all in for Nnamdi Asoumugha. Signing Vince Young, who then spouted off calling the Eagles “the dream team”-a moniker they never lived up to.
His sons had run-ins with the law, having their personal demons aired out in the local media. Garrett Reid, his oldest son, succumbed to those demons and was found dead in a training camp dorm prior to the 2012 season. Reid, ever dedicated to football and the Eagles franchise, came back fast from his bereavement leave. Maybe too fast, in hindsight. But, it was how he tried to cope.
In the end, he gave the coaching job in Philly his all. He brought the Eagles back to the promised land, only to fall just short. Eagles fans, whether they like to admit it or not, had it very good for a long time under Reid. But, at the end of it, it was time to change. They say sometimes you don’t know what you’ve got till its gone, and in this case that may be true for Eagles fans. Reid is off to a 2-0 start and looks to have righted the Kansas City ship. However, the Eagles look to be in good shape too with the up-tempo Chip Kelly now in charge, a coach who was recommended to owner Jeff Lurie by Reid himself.
So, on Thursday night, not even a year after he departed Philadelphia, Andy Reid comes back. It will be very odd seeing him on the sidelines of Lincoln Financial Field in Chiefs red as opposed to his usual Eagles green, no doubt. In typical Philly fashion, I fully expect their to be some boos, as he will likely always have a segment of fans who can do nothing but boo him (remember, fans let him have it for picking McNabb over Ricky Williams, and we all know how that worked out). But, by and large, if Reid doesn’t receive a memorable standing ovation from Eagles fans Thursday, it will be somewhat disappointing. For what he gave them, for how he brought the franchise into the upper echelon of NFL teams, the fans owe him that much. Here’s betting the Eagles fans give him a welcome as only they can. One that was hard earned and well deserved.