Andy Reid has enjoyed a lot of success in Philadelphia. He has also endured his share of trials and tribulations. After much turmoil over the past decade, Reid appears more fit than ever to lead the Eagles on a serious charge.
After all this time, Reid has his faction of loyal supporters as well as vehement detractors. Both sides are firmly entrenched in their viewpoints and neither will be willing to sway easily, if at all.
I consider myself someone who has tiptoed between the extremes. Andy Reid has won a ton of games in both the regular season in the playoffs. He brought this organization up from the ashes left by Rich Kotite and Ray Rhodes.
He's been a very good NFL coach that's fallen just short of greatness. If there is anything I've learned in sports, it's to say someone is incapable of doing something before they've run out of chances.
In 13 seasons as the Eagles' head coach, Reid has won six division titles, made nine postseason appearances, advanced to five NFC title games and appeared in a Super Bowl.
On the flip side, he has lost four NFC Championship Games to go with one Super Bowl, and has a .385 career winning percentage against playoff teams.
He has also infuriated fans with his distaste for the running game, his allergy to wide receivers during the Donovan McNabb era and his abrasive tone in press conferences.
For everything there is to like and dislike about Andy Reid and after all this time with him, something seems somehow different.
Reid seems comfortable. He seems confident. He seems completely prepared for the road that lies ahead. The most disappointing season during his tenure in Philadelphia seems to have changed him for the better.
In his inaugural press conference to start the 2012 preseason, his tone was relaxed and his personality was engaging. He responded to questions with what actually seemed like well thought out answers.
He willingly discussed his philosophy with the roster and the way he runs his camp. He addressed their options in light of Mike Patterson's injuries.
"I know this player and I know he loves challenges; he's as competitive as anyone you've ever been around, and he wants to win," Reid said. "He is willing to do whatever it takes physically and mentally to do that. I can't help but love that as a coach."
Gone were the slumped posture, incessant throat clearing and dismissive attitude. Reid stood upright, spoke clearly and concisely and made consistent eye contact with everyone in the room. It seems like the dawning of a new day.
To be clear, Super Bowls aren't won with press conference decorum, but with Andy Reid, everything has always been the same. For his demeanor to change so drastically is worth noting.
With the press conference freshly in mind, seeing Comcast Sportsnet Philly's "Gunn On One" segment only solidified these feelings.
Reid opened up about his past, his upbringing, his sports career, his family and his hometown. He was inducted into his high school's Hall of Fame. He seems genuinely happy and at peace.
There is no controversy heading into 2012. There is no negative talk surrounding Donovan McNabb. There is no fallout from an NFC Championship Game defeat. There is no angry fanbase over a position on the roster being completely overlooked.
This season appears different already. Maybe these changes are superficial and there is no way to quantify how much impact they will have on the season, if any.
Regardless of how this season plays out, these changes could make Reid more palatable to a disgruntled city and endear him more to the media who presents him to the public.
Maybe Reid's persona won't win the Super Bowl by itself, but it could help him to shape a new era of Philadelphia Eagles football for the better.
Andy Reid's had 13 seasons to bring home a championship and he's never done it. Many fans like to say he can't win a Super Bowl, but he has at least one more chance to do so. In his 14th season he seems better equipped than ever to prove everyone wrong.
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