You've heard of "too big to fail."
Well, meet "too small to succeed."
Actually, you already have—if you follow the NFL on anything resembling a regular basis.
Throughout his 12 1/2 years as head coach of the Eagles, Andy Reid has persistently assumed that if a football player is above-average size for the position he plays, he must automatically possess below-average speed and "athleticism," whatever the latter is supposed to mean.
You know what they said on The Odd Couple about people who assume.
On offense, this has led to a chronic inability to convert on short-yardage and goal-line plays—a deficiency that annually costs the Eagles two or three victories, and with it valuable playoff seeding.
And on defense, this leads to a chronic inability to stop the run, particularly against the larger running backs in the league—a deficiency that was palpably on display in their 30-24 Monday night home loss to the Bears in Week 9 that effectively ended their 2011 season so far as making the playoffs is concerned.
But if Andy Reid is the "disease," then what—or more to the point, who—would be the "cure?"
The short answer would appear to be obvious: former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher.
And no, Cowher would not represent a dramatic improvement over Reid merely because he has won a Super Bowl, while Reid's teams have always choked.
Rather, Cowher would bring a diametrically opposite philosophy and approach to the game to Philadelphia.
First off, Cowher's Pittsburgh teams never had any problem moving the chains and punching it into the end zone. Maybe that's because Cowher had at his disposal a running back Reid would have clearly found to be far too "slow"—Jerome Bettis.
And second, in his 15 years in Pittsburgh, the Steelers had a run defense that allowed 93 yards rushing per game, with an average ranking of seventh in the league, and gave up less than 100 yards rushing per game in 10 of those 15 years.
By contrast, Reid's Philadelphia defenses have given up an average of 114 yards rushing per game, with an average league ranking of 17th, and held their opposition under the century mark in just two seasons.
With undersized players, a defense is forced into a bend-but-don't-break role—and as former Eagles head coach Buddy Ryan, father of current Jets head coach Rex and Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob, so astutely pointed out, it's hard to teach a team that plays bend-but-don't-break defense to be aggressive.
Plus, Cowher even played for the Eagles—as a rookie in 1979, then returning in 1983 and 1984 after a three-year sojourn in Cleveland. Though listed as a linebacker, he saw much of his action on special teams.
In his acceptance speech after receiving the Vice Presidential nomination at the 1992 Democratic convention, Al Gore said of then-President George H.W. Bush and the Republicans: "It's time for them to go."
Well, it's time for Andy Reid to go.
Cowher Power is the answer!
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