Has it really been a year since George W. Bush left office?
For those suffering from the Stockholm syndrome, no need to worry, because as long as Jeffrey Lurie owns the Philadelphia Eagles, there will always be an NFL franchise to remind us of the 43rd president.
And so, just in time for President’s Day, here is a list of some similarities between Lurie’s Eagles and the George W. Bush Administration.
• Both men had the good fortune of being born into the right family. Bush’s grandfather was a senator whose son grew up to be the president of the United States.
Lurie’s grandfather started the General Cinema movie chain.
• After several failed oil ventures, Bush played on his family name to buy a sliver of the Texas Rangers. He and the other owners convinced taxpayers to foot most of the bill for a new ballpark and the surrounding land. Bush turned an initial investment of about $600,000 into nearly $25 million. On an unrelated matter, during his first year with the team, the club traded away Sammy Sosa.
After producing box office misses like I Love You to Death and V.I. Warshawski, Lurie used his family name to buy the Eagles for $185 million. He got taxpayers to spend nearly $200 million for his new stadium. The team is now worth more than $1 billion.
• While Bush was clearing brush on his non-working ranch, he ignored the Aug. 6, 2001 President’s Daily Brief entitled, “bin Ladin Determined to Strike in U.S.”
While the Eagles were informing fans that they had the best roster in football, the Cowboys built a superior team.
• The Bush Administration acted like history began with his inauguration. Bush did nothing about al-Qaeda before 9/11 despite earlier attacks on the World Trade Center (1993), two U.S. embassies in Africa (1998), and the USS Cole (2000).
The Eagles act like history began when Lurie took ownership. The organization rarely recognizes its past, as a quick handoff between legends Ron Jaworski and Wilbert Montgomery was the lone acknowledgement of the final game at the Vet.
• Bush continued reading The Pet Goat for several minutes after being told of the 9/11 attack, apparently shocked into a state of paralysis.
Andy Reid is unable to adjust his gameplan on the fly, at halftime, or, given the results of the last two games in Dallas, even with a week’s notice.
• Bush allowed bin Laden to get away because the president was busy building the case for war against Iraq, a country that had nothing to do with 9/11.
The Eagles let a Super Bowl title get away in 2002 because they were thinking beyond the NFC Championship Game while the Buccaneers showed up ready to play.
• Vice President Dick Cheney in March 2003: “...I really do believe that we will be greeted as liberators (in Iraq).”
Lurie: Our franchise is the “gold standard.”
• Bush sent us into Iraq because of the country’s alleged link to 9/11 and Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction. Then the objective changed and the invasion became about nation building, spreading democracy, and honoring the memory of those Americans who died in combat by allowing more Americans to be killed.
While the Lurie era began with the goal of winning multiple Super Bowls, the intent now is to remain competitive and hope that one of these years, they just happen to win the big one. Of course, New England, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and Indianapolis make the playoffs consistently while still managing to win the final game once in a while.
• The Bush Administration thought it could run two wars while giving a tax cut and not asking Americans for anything resembling shared sacrifice.
At various times in Reid’s tenure, the Eagles have believed they could win without a legitimate wide receiver, a stud defensive pass rusher, a fullback, a linebacker, a kick returner, and a running game.
• The Bush Administration paid columnist Armstrong Williams $240,000 to promote its No Child Left Behind Act.
The Eagles' director of Internet development Dave Spadaro shows up at press conferences as if he is an impartial member of the media, not a team employee.
• Bush’s twin daughters were charged with alcohol-related offenses.
Two of Andy Reid’s sons have served jail time for various drug and weapons offenses.
• Bush rarely held press conferences and exerted tight control over the media in Iraq.
Reid and his wife insisted on editorial control over a Philadelphia Magazine interview about their kids’ criminal lives.
• The Bush Administration had FOX News as its house organ.
The Eagles organization has WIP Radio’s Howard Eskin to spin things in its favor.
• Bush showed his true colors and belied his claim of compassionate conservatism with his poor response to Hurricane Katrina.
Also in New Orleans, the Eagles organization showed its true colors and belied its goal of winning a Super Bowl when Reid punted with 1:57 left while trailing by three in a 2006 playoff game. At that point, the Saints had already accumulated nearly 200 rushing yards and were easily able to run out the clock.
• Bush stayed with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld too long.
Lurie has stayed with coach Andy Reid too long.
• Bush did not want to set a deadline for troop removal from Iraq.
Lurie does not want to set a deadline for winning a Super Bowl, as evident by his rewarding Reid with a three-year contract extension just last month. To paraphrase Senator John McCain, if it takes Andy Reid 100 years to win a championship, Lurie is okay with that.
• Bush allowed the torturing of terror suspects despite what such acts do to American ideals.
Lurie professed his disgust with signing dog torturer and dog murderer Michael Vick but ultimately agreed to let Vick stain his franchise.
• Bush commuted the sentence of Scooter Libby, who was convicted of obstruction of justice and perjury in a case involving the leaking of a CIA operative’s covert status.
In addition to signing a dog murderer, Lurie did not punish Spadaro for spitting on the star in the center of Cowboys Stadium and uploading the footage to the Internet.
• Bush, with a "Mission Accomplished" banner behind him, in May 2003: “Major combat operations in Iraq have ended.”
Eagles President Joe Banner in July 2009: “I feel this year we have the best roster in the league.”
• Bush seemed to exist in a bubble, blissfully oblivious to the world around him.
When Lurie extended Reid’s contract, Reid stated that it was another sign that the Eagles were the best franchise in football. For the 11th time in Reid’s 11-year tenure, the best franchise in football will not win the Super Bowl.
• Amendment XXII of the United States Constitution forced an end to the George W. Bush presidency after eight years.
Is there any way the NFL can institute term limits for owners and coaches?