Andy Reid: Better Coach Than Most Would Think

Bill WoodisContributor IJune 9, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - SEPTEMBER 21: Head coach Andy Reid of the Philadelphia Eagles pumps his fist in celebration as he leaves the field after their game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on September 21, 2008 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles won 15-6.  (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

Last week, the Sporting News printed a report ranking all 32 NFL coaches going into the upcoming 2009-10 season.  You can see the Sporting News’ rankings by clicking here. 

Eagles coach Andy Reid was ranked third on this list. 

Andy Reid.  Third best coach.  In the NFL.  Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid.  No. 3.


Reid was ranked only behind New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin and Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.  Reid was ranked higher than Jeff Fisher, a coach who was a yard away from winning a Super Bowl, and Mike Tomlin, coach of the current Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers

Do our beloved Eagles have the third best mind in the league calling the shots?  On the surface, most Eagles fans, including myself, would say a resounding “no.”  I mean, before the amazing run the Birds had after Thanksgiving, Reid’s Eagles were on life support. 

Questionable play calling by Reid, especially at the end of the Sunday night game against the New York Giants on Nov. 9, haunted the Eagles in 2008.  The following week, they struggled to tie the Cincinnati Bengals, a four-win team, on Nov. 16. 

And McNabb’s ineffectiveness and inconsistency throughout the 2008 season reached a pinnacle on Nov. 23, when he was benched halfway through the Eagles loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

Don’t try to deny it, Birds fans. We all were calling for Reid’s head before Thanksgiving last season.  We described Reid as being out of touch with his team, incapable of winning big games, unable to manage time, and incompetent when it came to play calling.

Yet, the 2008 Eagles made the playoffs.  The Eagles, led by Reid, embarrassed the Dallas Cowboys in a must-win game on the last Sunday of the season to clinch the final NFC playoff spot. 

In the postseason, Reid’s Eagles easily won two road playoff games last season—knocking out the Minnesota Vikings and then the top-seeded, defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants. 

When all seemed lost, when all seemed irrelevant, when we all thought the season was over, when we all wanted Reid gone and the rebuilding of the Eagles to begin. He turned that team into not just a playoff team, but into a Super Bowl contending team.

It was after remembering the events of last season and seasons past that I took a look at this list of NFL coaches again.  And I realized, that yes, Andy Reid is absolutely a top-five coach in the NFL. 

Remember, no more Bill Cowher, no more Bill Parcells.  Mike Shanahan is out of Denver, Mike Holmgren called it quits in Seattle, and Tony Dungy left Indianapolis.  The NFL coaching landscape is very different, and yes, Reid is now one of the premier veteran coaches left.

As Eagles fans, we often take for granted the talent that this entire team has, mainly because they have not reached their full potential by winning a title.  But you cannot deny what Andy Reid has done for the Eagles. 

Seven playoff appearances in 10 seasons. Five division titles, five conference championship appearances, and a Super Bowl appearance.  Although Reid has yet to win the big one, he has always kept the Eagles in contention. 

And the Eagles will remain in contention for as long as Reid is on the sideline.

Look at Reid’s closest competition, Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher.  Fisher only has six playoff appearances in 12 years coaching Tennessee, and only three division titles.  Yet, Fisher is considered by many in the football landscape to be a better coach than Reid.

I disagree.

I’m not saying that Andy Reid does not have his flaws.  He still struggles with clock management, and yes, even though he has five conference championship appearances, he has led the Eagles to a 1-4 record in those games. 

He does not have a ring, and the Eagles—with their talent—should have won at least one title in the past 10 years.  And yes, I would argue that Mike Tomlin should be ranked ahead of Andy Reid, simply because he has a ring, and Andy does not.

But, these rankings did help remind me—and they should remind all Eagles fans—that the Eagles have one of the best coaches in the league.

Andy Reid.  Our coach.  Our Eagles.  One of the best.


Agree, disagree?  Leave comments and sound off!