Thirteen is not a lucky number. Right now, even Andy Reid may agree.
For 13 years, Reid has sat on the throne as the face of the Eagles. In that time, the team has contended more often than not, with five NFC championship appearances as proof.
But the number of Super Bowl titles during that span is rounder than Big Red himself: zero.
Thirteen is not lucky, but bad luck has nothing to do with the Eagles' 4-8 start to a once-hopeful season which took an ugly turn faster than you can say “blown coverage.”
Although there is plenty of blame to go around, from the defense's matador-esque style of tackling to a blatant disregard for protecting the football, at the end of the day the biggest scapegoat must be the man who insincerely takes it after the end of each loss.
See, in Philadelphia, we live in Groundhog Day, where Punxsutawney Fail pokes his head up each fall to see the same shadowy shortcomings each year and the same disingenuous, condescending mea culpas each week after a loss incurred through the same predictable reasons.
A gross imbalance in the run-pass ratio? Check. A porous run defense? Check. Poor clock management and misuse of timeouts? Double check.
So even as the names on the jerseys change, Reid continues to party like it's 1999.
But looking back even just a couple months, it's amazing how clear hindsight can be. Can we really be surprised that team diva DeSean Jackson would evoke images of Ricky "For Who? For What?" Watters when a contract extension he held out for has remain unresolved, even though a fellow receiver (Steve Smith) who remains super-glued to the bench gets signed for more than double?
Is it time to fire Andy Reid?
Can we really be shocked that an offensive line coach can't manage a defensive unit, one which was undersized and overmatched to begin with?
Is it really breaking news that, regardless of having arguably the most dynamic running back in the league, the emphasis remains on passing with two quarterbacks known more for their legs (and, frankly, criminal backgrounds) than for their arm?
And as the whining spreads in epidemic proportions throughout the locker room, be it Asante Samuel, Jason Avant or Casey "I May Look Like Clay But Can't Play Like Him" Matthews, the team finally reflects the personality of its coach—unlikeable.
Many prognosticators felt this team had the opportunity to be historical. It turns out they were right: The 2011 Eagles could go down as the most disappointing squad in NFL history.
Granted, these 13 years have been the most successful stretch of football this town has ever seen by far. Each home game continues to be routinely packed by the Philly faithful who can expect the team to remain competitive week in and week out, if nothing else.
Because, technically, there's been nothing else. Just the sporadic horseshoe or hand grenade from a talented but generally underachieving cast of characters that lack character.
Unfortunately, the architect of it all, the coach, is becoming more of a caricature.
For 51 years, the city of Philadelphia has laid barren of a football championship. For 13 of those years, Andy Reid, the man who oversees the strategy as well as the personnel, has found a way to extend this drought.
We may all be lucky if there is not a 14th.