The Philadelphia Eagles are searching long and hard for their next head coach, scouring both the professional and collegiate ranks.
After a third college coach spurned the team this past week, the Eagles felt it necessary to issue a team statement:
There is no question we spent a considerable amount of time and effort looking at who we thought were the best collegiate candidates for our head coaching job. We did so knowing that there was a remote chance that these coaches would leave their current posts.
We understood that going into the process, but we wanted to leave no stone unturned while trying to find the best head coach for the Philadelphia Eagles. We have no regrets about the effort we made in that direction and we will continue to proceed as planned in our search.
The statement was a bizarre tactic in what continues to be an even more bizarre rigmarole. As noted by Les Bowen of The Philadelphia Daily News, the search has meandered in countless directions, leaving fans with very little clues about whom their next coach will be.
It's been frustrating, Philly fans, but the newest rumor provides optimism for the future. On Sunday CSNPhilly.com reported that the team has interviewed Brian Billick and that the former Ravens boss is among the leading candidates for the job.
He's five years removed from coaching, but at the end of the day, Billick might be exactly what the Eagles are looking for in a coach. Here are three reasons why:
Billick's Baltimore Ravens teams are best remembered for their defense—and rightfully so. But the man himself is actually a maestro on the other side of the ball.
Before joining the Ravens, Billick spent four years as the offensive coordinator in Minnesota. He was the mastermind responsible for the 1998 Vikings, who averaged 34.8 points per game en route to a 15-1 regular-season record. Their 556 points scored was the most of all time until Tom Brady and Co. came along in 2007.
The Ravens were never an offensive powerhouse under his command, but they certainly outperformed their talent level. This is a quarterback-driven league (now more so than then) and Billick managed to win a Super Bowl with Trent Dilfer under center.
Even with peak-of-his-prime Ray Lewis on defense, that's awfully impressive.
Philadelphia's offense was a mess last season, finishing in the bottom third of both passing and rushing efficiency (h/t Football Outsiders). Unlike Billick's old Ravens teams, this group has enough talent to be a top-five offense—they just need a guy capable of utilizing that potential.
Brian Billick could very well be that guy.
Billick inherited a crummy, 6-10 team in Baltimore and immediately made it credible.
The Ravens went 8-8 in 1999—his first year on the job—good for the first non-losing record in franchise history. The following season, Baltimore went 12-4 and won the Super Bowl.
That a quick enough turnaround for ya?
In Philadelphia, he'd be picking up the pieces of a 4-12 team, which is the Eagles' worst finish since, ironically, 1998 (Billick's most successful year in Minnesota). His experience in inheriting a losing culture would do wonders for him in Philly, a city where fans expect their teams to compete right off the bat.
Winning the Big Game
Andy Reid was infamous for his inability to win the big one, losing four NFC Championship games and one Super Bowl during his tenure.
Brian Billick has held the Lombardi trophy with his own two hands. He's taken a team past the threshold of "close," and tasted the Gatorade-drenched cigar. He knows what it takes to peak at the right time of the season.
That's gotta count for something, right?
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