Big Red returns to Philly

Andy

Andy

That picture looks weird, doesn’t it?

The most highly anticipated night of the season is here. Andy Reid has made his way back to Philadelphia only about nine months after he lost his job as Eagles head coach. Now, he’s trying to turn around a Chiefs team that had the worst record in the league a year ago.

This is a tough game to predict. Kansas City is 2-0, but they have by no means wowed anyone. Alex Smith is clearly an upgrade at quarterback, and they still have weapons like Dwayne Bowe and Jamaal Charles on the squad. But they beat up on a terrible Jaguars team, 28-2 (!!!),  in week one and squeaked by the Cowboys, 17-16, in Week two. The Eagles might have the inferior record at 1-1, but their offense at least should have no reason to worry about putting points up against the Chiefs (the defense is a whole other story).

The game should be a good one, but that’s not what I’m here to talk about. Reid was coach for most of my time as an Eagles fan, and I have very mixed emotions about him.

I remember the late Ray Rhodes era very well, and if you don’t, consider yourself lucky. The Eagles were a joke. The carousel of quarterbacks that led the team included names like Bobby Hoying, Rodney Pete and Ty Detmer (you may remember his brother, Koy, holding kicks for the better part of a decade).

When the Eagles hired Reid after a 3-13 season in 1998, I don’t think anyone expected the turnaround to come so quickly and the new coach to last so long in town.

His first season was a throwaway, but the Eagles really had their stuff together in the 2000 season. It was Donovan McNabb’s first full season as a starter, and the Eagles made the playoffs with an 11-5 record. I still remember the first game that season, “The Pickle Juice Game,” where the Eagles started off with an onside kick that led to a drubbing of the Cowboys on a blistering Dallas afternoon. If all the Eagles’ game were going to be like that, it would be much different than what we call were used to.

A lot of good times came after that. There were multiple division titles, deep playoff runs and, of course, the Super Bowl run in 2004. The Eagles were a great team for a long time, and I gave a lot of credit for that success to Reid.

When things started to go south for the team later in Reid’s tenure, I always gave him a long leash. Even when they lost their fourth NFC Championship Game under Reid in 2009 against the Cardinals, I didn’t think the Eagles should part ways with their venerable head coach. When they were embarrassed by the Cowboys in the playoffs the next year, I was still saying that Reid would be the coach to lead them to a championship.

But with McNabb gone that offseason, there wasn’t anyone left for fans to blame but Reid. He only seemed to get more stubborn and more pass happy from that point, and it didn’t help that he lost legendary defensive coordinator, Jim Johnson, to cancer. As he struggled to replicate the old glory and success, I found myself growing tired of Reid.

The team got stale, and Eagles’ fans had to suffer through some hard-to-watch seasons before ownership had enough. Reid was finally let go after a 4-12 season. He is definitely the best coach in team history, and I will remember the Eagles under Reid as one of the best teams of my life. Now that Reid’s gone though, I can’t help but feel a breath of fresh air. I wish him well at his second head coaching job, but I hope the Eagles beat Andy and the Chiefs into the ground Thursday night.

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