From a recent article on the NFL owners’ meetings in New Orleans comes the following blurb:
The NFL will continue to allow a third replay challenge if a team has successfully used its two allotted challenges. The competition committee had proposed eliminating a third challenge. [Competition committee chairman Rich] McKay said the Philadelphia Eagles successfully lobbied to keep the third challenge.
We are sure that to many NFL fans, this blurb seems unremarkable; a rule change was proposed, and one of the 32 NFL teams lobbied to keep the rule as it was.
But to fans of the Philadelphia Eagles, this blurb would be hysterical if it was not so sad. Any Eagles can probably picture the eyeballs of Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie and General Manager Howie Roseman popping out of their respective skulls when it suddenly looked like this rule was gaining speed.
After all, Eagles coach Andy Reid has developed a well-earned reputation as one of the worst managers of replay challenges in the NFL. One can only imagine the horror that went through the minds of Roseman and Lurie as they contemplated having one two less replay challenges per game.
Needless to say, the Eagles dodged a bullet after Lurie and Roseman no doubt went into overtime pleading with their brethren no to do them in.
Let’s have a look at some other rules changes that would have killed the Philadelphia Eagles.
Coming out of the 2010 season, with the performance of Michael Vick making him an aging but incredible asset heading into free agency, and the continued lack of playing time for Kevin Kolb making him an asset beginning to rot on the vine, the Eagles had a bit of a quandry, faced with an uncertain future regardless of which player they committed to.
The Eagles escaped controversy by putting the franchise tag on Michael Vick and committing themselves to trading Kolb while he still has value. Now they do not have to roll the dice on Vick long-term, or by committing to a player in Kolb who still has not had a chance to prove himself.
Now, if that franchise tag option had not been available, it would have been a whole different story.
Think Michael Vick is prone to injury now? What if the quarterback were no longer allowed to throw the ball away once he was outside the tackles?
With the performance of the Eagles’ offensive line last year, sometimes the only thing keeping Vick out of the emergency room was his ability to get outside the tackles and get rid of the ball.
If the league suddenly decided to fine or suspend celebrations which commence prior to the actual scoring of a touchdown, DeSean Jackson would be broke, and probably only play about eight games per season.
Once there is less than two minutes left in the half, any injury by the team with the ball results in a loss of a timeout. However, if the team with the ball has no timeouts left, then the injury results in a 10-second runoff. The Eagles regularly fall prey to this rule because Andy Reid quite regularly has no timeouts left with under two minutes to go.
Imagine if the 10-second runoff were expanded to twenty seconds, or added to other scenarios, such as delay of game or offensive penalties.
The Eagles could lose as much as 40-50 seconds off of every minute that they have the ball at the end of the half.
If you listen to local sports talk radio whiners like John Gonzalez and Angelo Cataldi and Mike Missanelli, nothing Andy Reid ever says to the media is true, whether he's telling you that he'd happily hold on to three starting quarterbacks (here's some Kleenex, Mikey Mess) or telling you that Kevin Kolb is still his starting quarterback despite the play of Michael Vick (stuff a sock in it, Gonzo).
If the NFL ever fined or suspended coaches for such conduct, Reid would be broke, and would be done for the year before the third week of the pre-season.
Of course, if I got the treatment from the media that Reid gets, I’d probably clam up too.
We’re not talking about losing to a team that you were favored to beat by three points.
Eagles fans know the games we’re talking about, the annual "All the Eagles Phone It In" Game: The 2010 Vikings in Week 16. 2009 Raiders in Oakland. 2008 Redskins in Week 16 as well as 2008 tie against the Bengals.
If the NFL suddenly decided that good teams that lose to teams that they have absolutely no business losing to would have to take two in the loss column, the Eagles would be uniquely afflicted, and might even miss the playoffs.