Clichéd as it, the NFL is a business.
The Philadelphia Eagles alone are a $1.2 billion franchise within that business, facing the annual pressure that comes with having a $100 million payroll and a passionate fanbase that has waited half a century for a championship.
And that's why, if the man running that franchise has determined that the organization would be better served with a new head coach, he'd be doing a disservice to his millions of customers and would be insulting his current coach if he were to neglect to make said change merely to spare that coach's feelings.
I don't have kids, and I can't imagine losing one. Few of us can empathize with Andy Reid, whose son died from an accidental heroin overdose at training camp in August, but we can universally sympathize.
But there are many ways in which Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie can display compassion and respect for Reid without forcing his football team and its fans to make sacrifices. Lurie suggested prior to the season—weeks after Garrett Reid's death—that if Philadelphia didn't improve in 2012, Reid's job would be in jeopardy.
By all indications, Philadelphia has regressed in 2012.
Regardless of his personal relationship with Lurie, Reid surely understands that. And at this level of this business, it would be irresponsible of Lurie to keep Reid on board merely to spare his feelings. Reid doesn't need to retain this job to keep paying the bills, and he'd be a hot commodity on the 2013 coaching carousel anyway.
This would be different if Reid were making minimum wage at McDonald's and if his employment didn't affect so many human beings collaterally (fans, players, team employees), many of whom put blood, sweat, tears and hard-earned dollars into this franchise.
Should the death of Andy Reid's son be a factor in the team's decision to fire him or keep him?
Reid, I'm quite confident, doesn't want to keep a job as a result of pity. If his boss feels it's time to move on, then a difficult situation should be nothing more than slightly awkward. Another job and another paycheck will be waiting, and a great coach and even better man will have an opportunity to start anew.
Lurie could change his mind, but his preseason declaration that a lack of improvement in the standings would be "unacceptable" indicates he won't consider Reid's tough personal circumstances when trying to determine whether the league's longest-tenured head coach should be let go or not.
Reid's team is quitting on him again. He's had 14 good years in Philly, but it appears to be time for a change. All parties involved are aware, and it wouldn't be fair to anyone if that development were to be delayed due to Garrett Reid's tragic death.