Rumors: Andy Reid Stepping Down After Dallas Game; What About Donovan?

Bryn Swartz@eaglescentralSenior Writer IIIDecember 24, 2008

According to reports coming from the maintenance department at the NovaCare Complex, Andy Reid will be stepping down as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles after the regular-season finale against the Dallas Cowboys.

Apparently, a custodian at the NovaCare Complex overheard Andy Reid talking about walking away after the season's last game against the Cowboys. The custodian called into WIP, Philadelphia's popular sports radio station, early this morning.

Rumors have been circulating for virtually the entire season about the future of Andy Reid.

Once one of the top coaches in the National Football League, Reid's progression as a head coach has noticeably decreased over the past four seasons.

From 2000 to 2004, the Eagles were arguably the best team in the NFL. They earned five consecutive trips to the postseason and captured four consecutive division titles. Each season from 2001 to 2004 resulted in a trip to the NFC championship game.

In 2004, the Eagles defeated the Atlanta Falcons 27-10 to advance to Super Bowl XXXIX, where the New England Patriots prevailed, 24-21.

But since 2005, Reid's teams have been nothing short of disappointing.

A 6-10 last-place finish in 2005 can largely be attributed to numerous injuries, as well as the suspension of Pro Bowl wide receiver Terrell Owens.

Although 2006 ended with Reid's fifth division title, it was more the magic of Jeff Garcia than Andy Reid.

2007 failed to meet expectations, as the Eagles finished 8-8, and in last place again.

With the acquisition of All-Pro cornerback Asante Samuel, the Eagles were expected to compete for a Super Bowl title in 2008.

However, the season has been nothing short of disappointing.

The Eagles began with a 2-3 record, won three straight to get back in the playoff hunt, and then dropped back to .500 at 5-5-1. Three straight dominating wins pushed the Eagles to 8-5-1, at which point many fans began hoping for a Super Bowl berth. But a disappointing loss in Washington has the Eagles on the verge of missing the postseason for the second consecutive year.

I can think of three possible reasons for Andy Reid to resign as head coach after the season.

He Can't Get the Job Done Anymore

As stated, Reid's teams have declined significantly. From 2000 to 2004, the Eagles won 59 games and lost 19 (excluding the two meaningless games at the end of the 2004 season). Since 2005, the Eagles have a 32-30-1 regular season record (1-1 in the postseason). Reid has been under tremendous criticism for his inability to effectively manage the game clock, as well as his tendency to pass too much.

It's Time for a Change

Just like former Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher resigned after the 2006 season, Reid may feel the need to step away from coaching for a few seasons. Cowher, however, retired a year after winning Super Bowl XL, while Reid has never won football's ultimate game.

His Sons

In November of 2007, Andy Reid's sons, Britt and Garrett, were sentenced to 23 months in prison for weapons and drug charges. Reid has stated that his sons' failures have not interfered with his coaching duties and insists that he can balance his family life with his coaching responsibilities. However, the burden of having his sons in prison has to be an enormous emotional burden on Reid.

In 2007, Reid said, “As long as Jeffrey Lurie will have me, and as long as I can do my job to the best of my ability, I would love to be an Eagle.”

This may not be the case anymore.

Questions also have risen about the future of five-time Pro Bowl quarterback Donovan McNabb. McNabb was selected as Reid's first draft pick in 1999, and Reid has stuck with his quarterback for the past decade. Throughout the division titles and last-place finishes, Reid has always started Donovan McNabb as his quarterback.

However, in a blowout loss to the Baltimore Ravens this past November, Reid benched his franchise quarterback, leading many to speculate about the future of the greatest quarterback in team history.

McNabb was back in the starting lineup the next week and has remained the team's starter ever since.

A lot could happen in the season finale.

The Eagles could beat the Cowboys and sneak into the playoffs; they could beat the Cowboys and miss the playoffs; and they could lose to the Cowboys and watch Dallas earn the final wild-card spot.

The legacy of Andy Reid, as well as Donovan McNabb, may be riding on the season's final game this Sunday. Let's hope it doesn't, but it may very well be.

Regardless of what happens to Reid and McNabb following the 2008 season, I ask you, Eagles fans, to remember Reid and McNabb not for what they failed to do in their ten years together, but instead for what they did do.

Six playoff appearances. Five division titles. One Super Bowl berth. And the greatest 10 year stretch in the history of the Philadelphia Eagles.


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