Andy Reid stood alone on the sideline. With his hands on his hips, in front of a half-empty stadium, he waited for David Carr to take one final knee at the Eagles’ 44-yard-line before strolling towards midfield.
The clock showed zeroes, Reid shook hands with Tom Coughlin, and another chapter in this franchise’s history came to a close.
A tale that started on Jan. 11, 1999 has reached its conclusion. Many will try today to put Reid’s 14-year tenure into perspective: 140 wins, 102 losses and one tie. Nine playoff appearances, five NFC championship games and one Super Bowl appearance.
While things fell apart at the end – 4-12 this season, 12-20 in the last two – Reid’s relationships with his players will define his legacy here.
“He’s a great man, and I love him to death,” said quarterback Michael Vick after the team’s 42-7 loss to the Giants. “I wish we wouldn’t be having this conversation right now. I wish I could have done more. Hopefully a lot of players in that locker room right now feel like they could have done more. Coach can’t go out and play the game. He can only coach. It’s our responsibility to go out and make it right, and we didn’t.”
Jeremy Maclin, who suffered a major health scare before the 2012 season, talked about the coach who drafted him with the 19th overall pick in 2009.
“It’s more than just a coach-player relationship,” he said. “It’s actually a friendship. Obviously, when I was battling everything I was battling, he was the first guy that I kind of opened up to and talked to.”
There were others too – many of whom were shown the door by Reid. Donovan McNabb, Terrell Owens, Jeremiah Trotter, Brian Westbrook and so on. But over the course of a 14-year career, I can only think of two players who have had anything bad to say about Reid – Asante Samuel and Jason Babin.
While the players, to a man, supported Reid with their words, they did not do so with their actions this season. And that’s why we are where we are today. As Tim reported last night, Reid will meet with Jeffrey Lurie this morning, the Eagles will hold a press conference, and everyone will move on.
There’s little time to waste, after all. Assistants from the two top seeds in each conference are allowed to interview for head-coaching positions this week. If Lurie wants to talk to Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman or Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, he’ll need to move quickly.
Reid, meanwhile, will undoubtedly be in touch with his agent, as firings are announced around the league on Black Monday. He’s remained adamant about wanting to coach somewhere next year. Barring something unforeseen, Reid will be in a different city in a matter of weeks, working to form new relationships with a new set of players.
WHAT YOU MISSED
Who will replace Reid? Here’s our list of names you should be familiar with.
The story on Reid’s firing, including comments from the man himself and Marty Mornhinweg, courtesy of T-Mac.
According to one report, Jon Gruden is very much in the mix to be the Eagles’ next head coach.
And Penn State’s Bill O’Brien is reportedly on the team’s short list.
Jason Avant says there’s not enough character guys on the Eagles.
Michael Vick questioned the effort of his teammates following yesterday’s loss.
My instant observations from the Eagles’ 42-7 loss.
With Reid, the locals know best, writes McManus.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Really enjoyed this Reid column by Mike Tanier of SportsOnEarth.com:
The latter-day Eagles dripped with mismatched, disinterested talent. The Dream Team fiasco of 2011 brought the kind of big-name talent Reid would have killed for in 2000. It also brought about the collapse of the Andy Reid Eagles. The last two seasons have been an attempt to fit square pegs into USB ports. They have been about players and assistant coaches with their own agendas. The Eagles spent the last two seasons proving that Andy Reid’s organization was no longer organized. They tarnished memories of a team that did everything the right way, even when they did not do everything right.
This one too, by the Daily News’ Rich Hofmann:
His refusal to give fans anything more than the most fleeting peek behind the curtain will be remembered forever. It marked him as arrogant to many people, but that wasn’t it. Simply, Reid was all about protecting his players, and being too candid about even trivial matters left him uncomfortable because of how the players might read it. He did not trust himself to walk that line, so he avoided the line altogether. He would never waver in that or try to make himself look good at the players’ expense.
Players will clean out their lockers, and we expect to hear from Lurie around noon. Birds 24/7 will have it all covered, so check back often.