There were no chill-inducing moments. No acknowledgement from the team or the coach. No signs in the stands. It was all pretty anticlimactic.
Some patrons did serenade Reid with “Andy!” chants as he left the Linc field for maybe the last time as coach.
“We’ve got great fans,” said Reid. “I’ve always said we’re kind of on the same page: when you stink they let you know you stink, and when you’re doing good they’re going to let you know you’re doing good. I got it. I understand the situation. I appreciate everything.”
And was this in fact the swan song?
“Nothing to tell you on that. I am the coach right now and I’m just coaching is what I am doing — the best I possibly can,” he said.
Reid, we have learned over the last 14 years, has tunnel vision. When it comes to his football team, he likes to focus only on what is right in front of him.
“Those are good stories but when you’re in the process of getting ready for a game and when you’re playing the game, your mind doesn’t go there — especially a game like that where it comes down to the last second. That’s not really where I’m at,” he said.
This season, though, has always been about the future of this head coach. And now that we stand so close to a big moment in this franchise’s history, all other story lines will take a back seat. This is the line of questioning from here on in. Some of his players are using the opportunity to publicly express their appreciation for their coach.
“The biggest thing I’m looking at is I don’t see any other coaches that’s as good as Coach Reid, for one,” said LeSean McCoy, one of the big Reid supporters on the team. “Two, he’s been here for so long, the respect he’s demanded… you think of the Philadelphia Eagles, you think of Coach Reid. And these last two years, yeah we’ve been bad, but I mean, look at his rap sheet, look at his past. I mean, he’s been a winning coach. Before he got here, we were bad, real bad. I’ve got a lot of faith in him. And the other thing why I believe it is because I know him. I know the way he prepares. I know the way he treats his players. I know how he runs his system. I know him, so I’ve been there with the ups and downs. I’ve been there when he congratulates you and when he yells at you. I know him as a coach so as a player, we see that. You fight for a guy like that.”
Added DeMeco Ryans:
“One down season here doesn’t determine who he is as a man, as a coach. He’s still a great coach and a great person to play for, and he’s still one of the top coaches in this league, hands down.”
Reid has earned the respect of seemingly every player that he has coached since taking the reins in 1999. Even in the darkest moments over the past two seasons, you never heard a negative word — on or off the record — from a member of the team.
Outside the NovaCare walls has been a different story. For a good portion of the fan base, optimism gave way to frustration; frustration to anger; and anger to apathy as the era marched past its peak.
That seemed pretty clear Sunday afternoon. Many wondered what the big moment would be like: Would Reid get a huge ovation on his way out the door? Would he be booed? Would the public relationship between coach and city end is some dramatic way?
But it was just another game. No indication that this was the end for the most successful coach in franchise history, save a little love as he walked into the tunnel.
It just feels like there is very little left to do or say.
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