Andy Reid, who is 11-0 off a bye week, just might be the smartest coach in the NFL
It started with an onside kick.
Randall Cunningham was gone. Chris Carter bolted to Minnesota along with Randall. That legendary defense the Eagles had during the 90s had dissolved. Donovan McNabb was just a rookie. And the Eagles starting quarterback was Doug Peterson.
Commentator John Madden said during one of the Eagles games in 1999: "This is one of the worst offenses I've ever seen. Doug Peterson isn't the problem...but he certainly isn't the answer."
After winning just five games in 1999, the Eagles opened the 2000 season with a road game at Cowboys Stadium, and the Cowboys won the coin toss and elected to receive.
Little did the Cowboys know, the Eagles were about to attempt a surprise onside kick.
They recovered the ball and scored a touchdown on their opening drive. The rout was on, and the final score was: Philadelphia 41, Dallas 14.
John Madden said after that game: "The Eagles came to play today. Dallas did not come to play."
The game time temperature was said to be 107 degrees, and over 150 degrees on the turf, but Andy Reid had an answer for that: Pickle juice. He loaded his players up with pickle juice hours before the game, and it was reported the Eagles had only one player who suffered a cramp.
The Eagles went on to win 11 games that season and made the playoffs. From that point on, a precedent was set by Andy Reid.
The Eagles have been to the playoffs seven of the last 10 seasons, and if Andy Reid's confidence is any indication, they'll make it eight out of 11.
"I have two quarterbacks who can get me to the Super Bowl, and not many coaches can say that," said Reid earlier in the season.
Whether Kevin Kolb or Michael Vick takes the majority of the snaps this weekend against the Colts, Andy Reid will have his team ready. Although the Eagles are vacant of a Super Bowl victory under his leadership, one thing has been a model of consistency over the last decade: Andy Reid has won all 11 games following a bye week.
Interestingly enough, the Colts have an 11-game win streak of their own: 11 straight wins on prime-time television.
The Colts' most recent prime-time win was this past Monday night. You can bet that Andy Reid and the coaching staff were diligently watching and learning how to prepare for their formations and patterns.
Andy Reid lives for these kinds of games. Midway through the 2001 season, during a prime time Thursday night game at Kansas City, he opened the game with another onside kick. In 2008, taking on the undefeated New England Patriots as a 25-point underdog, he did it again, this time in the second quarter. The Eagles nearly won that game, but came up short, as the final score was 31-28.
The Colts are great, but this high profile exposure will provide a great opportunity for Michael Vick to shine on the football field in an effort to make up for his prior off-field reputation.
If Vick can beat Peyton Manning, a new hero will emerge in Philadelphia.
Perhaps it will be pickle juice. Maybe it will be a cheesesteak dinner.
Whatever it may be, off the bye week, look for Andy Reid to run his record to 12-0 against a Colts team coming off the short week.