Eagles Wake-Up Call: Finding QB More Important Than Coach

Much of the conversation in recent weeks has centered around who will replace Andy Reid as the Eagles’ head coach at year’s end.

While that decision will certainly be significant, finding the right quarterback will probably determine when this franchise gets to the Super Bowl next.

As Tim pointed out yesterday, that will likely be the new coach’s call. It could be Nick Foles. It could be someone they draft or acquire via trade or free agency this offseason. It could even be Michael Vick. Who knows?

Below is a list of the coaches and quarterbacks who have appeared in the Super Bowl the last five years.

Year
Team
Quarterback
Coach
2011GiantsEli ManningTom Coughlin
2011PatriotsTom BradyBill Belichick
2010PackersAaron RodgersMike McCarthy
2010SteelersBen RoethlisbergerMike Tomlin
2009SaintsDrew BreesSean Payton
2009ColtsPeyton ManningJim Caldwell
2008SteelersBen RoethlisbergerMike Tomlin
2008CardinalsKurt WarnerKen Whisenhunt
2007GiantsEli ManningTom Coughlin
2007PatriotsTom BradyBill Belichick
2006ColtsPeyton ManningTony Dungy
2006BearsRex GrossmanLovie Smith

Eight different quarterbacks have appeared in the Super Bowl the last five years: Eli Manning, Brady, Rodgers, Roethlisberger, Brees, Peyton Manning, Warner and Grossman.

(By the way, raise your hand if you forgot that Grossman was a 16-game starter for a Super Bowl team.)

Look at that list. Seven of the eight have proven capable of playing at an elite level. Four of the eight (Eli Manning, Peyton Manning, Brady, Roethlisberger) have gotten to the Super Bowl twice in a five-year span. That’s no coincidence.

Five of the eight were first-round picks. The only exceptions were Brees (second round, 32nd overall), Brady (sixth round, 199th overall) and Warner (undrafted).

As for the coaches, you see guys like Belichick, Coughlin and Dungy, who were on their second stops. And first-time head coaches like Tomlin, McCarthy and Payton, who got to the Super Bowl within five years. It seems to be a more varied list in terms of style, background and accomplishments.

By the way, one thing to note for the Jon Gruden/Bill Cowher crowd, you don’t see a coach on the list who won a Super Bowl in a previous stop. And that’s not just in the past five years. That’s all-time. No coach has won a Super Bowl at one stop and gone on to win it again with another team.

The overall point, though, is that finding a quarterback will likely prove more difficult for Jeffrey Lurie, Howie Roseman and company than finding a new coach. And that, ultimately, will be the most significant factor in determining when this franchise hoists its first Lombardi Trophy.

WHAT YOU MISSED

Robert Griffin III says the Eagles were showing heavy interest in him before the draft. Tim’s got the details.

Here’s a taste of Oregon’s Chip Kelly, a potential head-coaching candidate.

Did Jeremy Maclin shy away from contact last week? He responds to criticism from Troy Aikman and others.

Here’s an All-22 look at what we saw from Foles last week against the Cowboys.

This week’s breakdown of defensive line production shows that Fletcher Cox has been a bright spot for the Eagles.

Will Vick definitely be gone in 2013? T-Mac’s not so sure.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

SI.com’s Don Banks has the Eagles 24th in his power rankings:

If you’re rookie quarterback Nick Foles, you could do worse than making your first start on the road in Washington, where visiting teams often win, and the Redskins defense is depleted by injuries. It’s all about the future in Philly at this point, but that future in all likelihood doesn’t include Andy Reid and Michael Vick.

Andrew Brandt of ESPN.com says giving the coach primary personnel responsibilities is not ideal:

Although Bill Belichick has been able to achieve sustained success, he has done so with cold and impersonal detachment, often not even responding to player discontent about roles or contracts, further infuriating players and agents. Reid, although a flat-liner with the media, cares deeply about his relationship with his players.

The Eagles are obviously talented but sometimes appear undisciplined and unafraid of consequences. Although there are many factors in their struggles this year, the arrangement of Reid as coach and general manager is certainly not ideal for this current club.

COMING UP

We’ll hear from Todd Bowles and Marty Mornhinweg as Foles and the Eagles prepare for the Redskins.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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