There is no denying that Eagles fans are among the most passionate and devoted fanbases of any in the NFL. But Eagles fans have been given a reputation for being brash, illogical heathens. Why?
The plight of the Philadelphia Eagles fanbase is too often misconstrued by ill-informed national sports pundits.
For years Eagles fans have been dying for a new head coach because the one they have had has not only underachieved, but has also been out of touch with a fanbase that values camaraderie second to wins. All the fans have wanted from Andy Reid, aside from a Super Bowl, was for the head coach to be a part of the city he coached in.
Instead, Andy Reid has pushed them to the side and given them no explanation for any of his shortcomings except for “I gotta do a better job,” or “I take full responsibility,” and he has continuously done the same things over and over again that have cost his team wins.
But what really drives the knife in deeper is the closeness and openness Andy Reid has shown to national sports media outlets, after he dodges basic questions and closes himself off from local media.
For example, he had a jersey made for ESPN’s Mike Greenberg, and the former coaches and players who are now national football analysts are Reid’s buddies from their time in the league together. Naturally, these people wouldn’t dare criticize Andy Reid.
But Eagles fans have gotten more and more frustrated over the years with this and his inability to win, and it has manifested itself into the signs that appear in the stands at Eagles home games and the bags over fans’ heads.
After all, Buddy Ryan’s name is usually evoked with a measure of respect and adoration, and he didn’t have half the success that Reid has had. But Ryan spoke to the media and he was in touch with his fans, and that makes a huge difference.
The national media’s affection for Reid and their history with him skews their perception of him.
How in the world could a coach not be held solely accountable for a team’s failure for 14 straight years? How many different players can be blamed for everything? And even if the team’s losses were the players’ faults, Andy Reid is the one who picked them. Why is that never discussed?
Although the loss of Reid’s son this offseason needs to be (and has been) treated with the utmost sympathy and sincerity, it cannot be factored into the equation of the team’s disastrous 2012 campaign. It’s been too many years without a Super Bowl.
Neither can injuries. Plenty of successful teams have lost players to injury and overcome that because they had the right personnel in place to take over if such an event was to occur. The Eagles, on the other hand, were completely unprepared.
How has Andy Reid been anointed to such esteem in the eyes of so many NFL analysts and fans outside of Philadelphia?
Some say he has an eye for talent, but his draft history and lack of preparation for injuries prove the contrary.
Some say he’s an incredible discoverer and developer of great quarterbacks, but aside from Donovan McNabb, where are these quarterbacks? Who are they?
Some say Reid is such a good coach that many of his former assistants have gone on to be successful in the NFL. While that is true, which ones have been successful?
Some say Reid’s past success earns him the right to keep his job not only for the rest of this season, but also in the future. But what success are they talking about? Is this success a few division titles and a 2004 Super Bowl appearance? I was under the impression that success was measured in Super Bowl titles, not NFC Championship banners and conference title game losses.
Eagles fans see these things because they have been exposed to them for so long, and when they express displeasure they’re treated like uncontrollable monsters and spoken about as if they are fools.
I doubt that any other fanbase would tolerate a coach like Andy Reid for so long in a different way.
But the problem isn’t just with Andy Reid.
The Eagles’ owner, Jeffrey Lurie, has done nothing to even acknowledge the suffering of the fans who have made him so much money.
In fact, it’s curious to note that last year, Lurie said that 8-8 was unacceptable, but the team has lost eight games and Andy Reid is still the head coach. Furthermore, Jason Babin was just released, and it was Reid who cut him. While those orders may have come from higher up, it’s curious that Reid is making moves to develop younger players nonetheless.
It’s unimaginable to consider the possibility of Andy Reid returning to coach the Eagles next year. So, when he is gone, he will be remembered as the winningest coach in the history of a team without a Super Bowl title.
Reid’s accomplishments and the competitive teams he put on the field will always be appreciated. No one hates Andy Reid or wishes him ill will. But in the end, it’s time for him, the organization, and the fanbase to move on.