The coaching carousel in professional sports is by nature a headache-inducing phenomenon for many fanbases, but it's par for the course in the NFL.
On the last day of the regular season of 2012 the Philadelphia Eagles, Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs, Chicago Bears, Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars, San Diego Chargers, Buffalo Bills and New York Jets all shed blood in their front offices by axing their general manager, head coach or both.
On this bloody final Monday of the year some of the top coaches and general managers from the past 10 years find themselves searching for a new employer in the New Year.
In the case of former Philadelphia coach Andy Reid, the writing was on the wall before the beginning of the season when Eagles' owner Jeff Lurie went on record to say that an 8-8 record would not be good enough for a Philly team that he felt was built to win a Super Bowl. Left tackle Jason Peters—arguably the team's best player on offense—went down with a season-ending Achilles injury.
Perhaps that injury was an unheeded omen of things to come?
From the very start the then-healthy Eagles were suspect at best. Even with a winning record of 3-1 in September, the Birds' weaknesses literally jumped out of the flat-screen and into the viewers' lap.
It's peculiar how some people are unable to properly evaluate the potential for an underlying bad scenario when observing one that seems to be good on the surface. While Eagles' fans were staring at a nice, drop-top, candy apple red Cadillac of a team back in the preseason, gremlins nibbled away at the gas line, ripped away the break line and keyed the paint. Just as the the City of Brotherly Love began believing again, that pretty Cadillac smacked into a SEPTA train at 75 mph.
A bullet-riddled offensive line, a team wide allergic reaction to end zone grass paint, an offensive line coach pretending to be a defensive coordinator, a high priced and ineffective cornerback whose name should be s synonymous with Downey fabric softener and a coach with a notoriously inflexible offensive game plan were but the tip of a very deep iceberg.
But many Eagles fans would scream blasphemy at the thought of firing Reid back then as their team defeated the Baltimore Ravens, New York Giants and Cleveland Browns. If you fixed your lips to mention that early loss to the lowly Arizona Cardinals, then you would likely be pelted with half-eaten cheesesteaks.
Up until November 11, Vick's play consisted of flashes of brilliance abbreviated by seemingly bone-head coverage reads and turnovers. To be fair, quite a few of his 11 fumbles, 5 of which were lost, were the result of him being blindsided by blitzing defenders coming from his right side. But many of his 10 interceptions were the result of him trying to force the ball into areas that he should not have.
One could also say a significant portion of the interceptions and the fumbles were the offensive line's fault as well, but the blame for offensive ineptitude initially falls on the quarterback, then the offensive coordinator and finally the head coach.
In Reid's case he was triple doomed as he was offensive coordinator, head coach and general manager. When the smoke cleared, Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy and Desean Jackson had each missed at least a month to injury—and the Eagles were in a dizzying tailspin. The Philadelphia Eagles would win one of their remaining 12 games to finish the season 4-12. That has to be some kind of team record for failure.
With Vick's hiatus due to concussion, followed by LeSean "Shady" McCoy's concussion and DeSean Jackson's rib injury, came the startling realization that everything Reid and company did in the offseason to make the team better failed.
Not the acquisition of Nnamdi Asomugha, not the offensive line, not the defensive coordinator head-scratcher, not the Wide 9 defensive scheme, not red-zone scoring, not forcing turnovers, nothing!
The 2012 season was a perfect storm of failure and chaos and is the worst season the Eagles have ever had under Andy Reid. Though no one can sneeze at his win-loss record (130-90-1) the microwave nature inherent in modern professional sports has finally caught up with him.
After 14 years as the Eagles' head coach, Andy Reid was sent on his way. He's the best Eagles' coach ever, having taken the team to nine playoff appearances, six division titles, five NFC title games and one showing in the Super Bowl.
But his recent track record of failure could not be justified by any measure. Though the fans in Philadelphia are happy to see him go, fans in other football towns are chomping at the bit for a chance to have him coach their team, perhaps to revive the long dormant offenses in such scoreless wastelands as Kansas City, Arizona, Cleveland or Buffalo.
But as far as fans in Philadelphia are concerned, the gig is up and a winning coach should be walking through the doors of Jeff Lurie's office any day now.
But that's not exactly how it works.
With uncertainty at quarterback and many other skill positions, the Philadelphia Eagles may have slipped into rebuilding mode over the course of the season. Barring an amazing coaching job or heretofore unimaginable personnel improvements, the Eagles might see an 8-8 record as a great accomplishment in 2013.
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