Andy Reid Pursues a Legacy Beyond Winning in Philadelphia

Leo PizziniAnalyst IMay 19, 2009

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 18:  Head coach Andy Reid of the Philadelphia Eagles calls a play during the NFC championship game against the Arizona Cardinals on January 18, 2009 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Intelligent, selfless, loyal, ethical and meticulous are perhaps the five best words to describe Andy Reid as a coach and person.  These characteristics are evidenced in his determination in carrying the fault through the bad times and forwarding the praises during the good in a very football intensive city.

As an athlete at John Marshall High School and Brigham Young University, Andy Reid played guard and tackle.  He worked his way into the NFL after serving nine years as an offensive line coach in the NCAA ranks at San Francisco State, Northern Arizona, Texas-El Paso and Missouri.

At San Fransisco State, Reid's offensive line helped pave the way for the most productive offense in the NCAA for three consecutive years.

Mike Holmgren gave Andy his first opportunity at coaching in the NFL with the Green Bay Packers.  As the assistant head coach in Green Bay, Andy was part of the coaching staff during the 1996 Superbowl Season.  He was later named quarterbacks coach where he had the opportunity to work with future Hall of Famer, Brett Favre.

During his tenure at Green Bay, Holmgren inspired Reid to learn the totality of the offense and not restrict his knowledge to particular aspects related to his job title.  Seizing the opportunity to expand his understanding of Holmgren's offensive scheme, Reid kept detailed notes in his infamous three ring binder that would later evolve into the Andy Reid system.

On the first day that Jeffrey Lurie handed over the proverbial keys to the Philadelphia Eagles football operations, Andy Reid meticulously unveiled a detailed and comprehensive plan for developing a durable football program that would evolve into a decade's worth of winning tradition.  

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Transitioning to Head Coach and Executive Vice President of Football Operations for the Philadelphia Eagles, Reid took over for Ray Rhodes in 1999 after the Eagles put up a league worst 3-13 record.  Since that time, the Eagles have made it to five NFC Championships and one Super Bowl. 

Although the always critical Philadelphia media has made a practice of detracting from Reid's success, the fact remains that he is the all time winningest coach in franchise history, claiming victory in 107 games and boasting a win percentage of 61.1% with 10 playoff wins.

As an evaluator of talent, Andy Reid has defied the critics by acquiring what is most certainly one of the greatest pools of football players and coaches in Eagle history.  Through the draft, free agency and by trade, Reid has made bold moves to compile youth and leadership, making his franchise a contender year upon year.   

As a coach, Andy has solidified himself as a Hall of Fame candidate.  He is a Super Bowl Championship away from all but guaranteeing himself a spot in Canton.  Considering his history, we can conclude that his motivation is far less self gratifying.  The culmination of success throughout his tenure in Philadelphia will ultimately be acknowledged by both fans and colleagues. 

The greatest criticism against Reid revolves around his play calling and run-to-pass ratio.  Although the Eagles have had great measures of success with their pass happy offense, the ultimate justification for all things football is the elusive and irrefutable championship.  He will not change his philosophy, but we may see some minor adjustments in favor of a more balanced offense in 2009. 

Putting things in perspective, critics and fans alike are easily moved by one defining moment.  Those moments and opportunities are usually far and few between.  Under Reid, the Philadelphia Eagles have risen time and again to prove that Andy Reid's defining moment has not yet been set.

A final point for consideration is that in the face of adversity and player injuries, Reid has persevered to accomplish what most coaches do not—win games.  His football plan has taken the Eagles to the precipice of greatness and the culmination of his experiences will ultimately determine his legacy as the winningest coach in Eagle history, or the first coach to lead the birds to a Superbowl victory. 


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