Philadelphia Eagles: Fans Should Root for Culture Change Instead of Wins
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It begs the question—should fans root against the Eagles to change the current culture of the team?
The idea of rooting for your team to lose may sound insane, but it is something Eagles fans have done in the past. And the last time it happened, it worked out pretty well.
Back in 1998, the Eagles were led by Ray Rhodes. The team did not have Super Bowl aspirations, but they were clearly underachievers and were headed in the wrong direction. The Eagles opened up the season with five consecutive losses before finally winning a game.
Instead of living in denial and rooting for the Eagles to close out the season with a 10-1 record and a chance to make the playoffs, most fans faced the facts and realized the Eagles were better off losing as many games as possible.
Each loss secured Rhodes' coffin, and it vaulted the Eagles up the board in a quarterback-rich draft. It was time for a change in Philadelphia.
At the end of the season, Philadelphia fired Rhodes and brought in an unknown quarterback coach from Green Bay named Andy Reid.
The fans went into full-panic mode, because they wanted a well-established coach to take over at the helm. Reid made his doubters look foolish as he turned a losing franchise into a perennial playoff team by going to the playoffs in nine of his 12 years.
He also coached the Eagles to five NFC Championships and one Super Bowl appearance despite not being on the top of every fan's wish list.
Reid got there thanks to the Eagles selecting Donovan McNabb with the second-overall pick in the 1999 NFL draft. McNabb went on to become the greatest quarterback in franchise history, setting nearly every record at the position.
It was all set up by a 3-13 season in 1998. Obviously, the way fans approached each game did not cause the Eagles to lose. But it made a miserable season bearable because of the potential long-term solutions.
A loss this Sunday to the Buffalo Bills at Orchard Park and another loss to the Washington Redskins next Sunday at FedEx Field would give the Eagles a 1-5 record and the opportunity to change the culture in Philadelphia once again.
The Eagles could begin their search for a defensive-minded coach who doesn't mind playing a physical brand of football in short-yardage situations.
Does it matter if the coach is a household name?
No. Reid already proved an unknown head coach can turn things around in Philadelphia.
Take it one step further too. Did the casual fan know Mike Tomlin, Sean Payton and Mike McCarthy?
Most fans know who they are now because each has a Super Bowl ring.
Don't fear the unknown, Eagles fans. There are plenty of coaches out there eagerly awaiting the opportunity to prove they are the next great head coach ready to win a Super Bowl.
History actually says it is not a good idea to hire a head coach who already won the Vince Lombardi Trophy, as no coach has ever won a Super Bowl with two different teams.
Bring in a fresh face who has new ideas and who can solve our red-zone woes.
Once Reid is shown the door, Castillo will follow and the Eagles can try to land a coach who can effectively use Pro Bowl cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
This is based on the assumption the Eagles part ways with Asante Samuel and use the money to sign a legitimate option at middle linebacker.
And if they target linebackers in free agency, it means they found someone who values the position, which also translates into Howie Roseman no longer holding the title of general manager.
What's not to like so far?
To top it all off, the Eagles could pocket a top 10 draft pick.
With Reid out of the picture, maybe the Eagles can find a player who can actually find his way onto the field on a consistent basis, unlike the first four picks of the 2011 NFL draft, which includes Danny Watkins, Jaiquawan Jarreett, Curtis Marsh and Casey Matthews.
If the general manager is creative, maybe he can find a way to trade up and bring Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck to Philadelphia.
Vick is clearly not the problem right now, but he's also not the long-term solution.
Having a quarterback who puts himself in harm's way, struggles to read defenses and is inconsistent in hitting open targets goes against everything the Eagles would try to do if there is a change in culture.
It's difficult to ask a fanbase as passionate as Eagles fans to embrace losing, especially when the fans had Super Bowl aspirations.
Once everyone realizes this is not a Super Bowl-caliber team and the long-term benefits of losing will produce a better franchise, it's a no-brainer to go against the Eagles.
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