Eagles Wake-Up Call: The Bizarre Ray Rhodes Factor

If you want to win a Super Bowl, it’s probably best to just hire a former Ray Rhodes assistant to be your head coach.

Worked for Baltimore. John Harbaugh spent most of his time in Philadelphia working for Andy Reid, but it was Rhodes who hired him to be the Eagles’ special teams coordinator back in 1998. Harbaugh spent Sunday night dancing in confetti. He now has a .675 win percentage, three AFC Championship Game appearances and a Super Bowl title in five seasons with the Ravens.

That is not Rhodes’ only claim to Lombardi fame. Not by a long shot. Rhodes gave Sean Payton his first gig in the NFL when he named him quarterbacks coach of the Eagles in 1997. Payton got a ring with the Saints in 2009. Green Bay won it all the following year. Packers head coach Mike McCarthy was Rhodes’ QB coach in Green Bay in ’99.

Then there’s Jon Gruden, who got his first NFL coordinator job when Rhodes brought him to Philadelphia in ’95. Gruden won a championship with the Bucs in 2002. The head coach across the sidelines for the Raiders in that Super Bowl? Bill Callahan, who was the Eagles’ offensive line coach under Rhodes from ’95-97.

In all, three of the last four Super Bowls have been won by a head coach with a very specific Ray Rhodes connection. It is pretty bizarre, and really not getting enough attention.

Consider that level of potency compared to Reid’s coaching tree. Besides Harbaugh, Reid has seen assistants Brad Childress, Steve Spagnuolo, Leslie Frazier, Ron Rivera and Pat Shurmur move on to secure head coaching jobs. Those five have just one playoff victory as head coach between them.

Say what you want about Rhodes, but he had an eye for coaching talent.

WHAT YOU MISSED

After meetings with Chip Kelly, Michael Vick is more open to the idea of returning for another season.

Ed Reed ended Jason Kelce‘s season. So why is Kelce calling him a class act?

Sheil gives 10 entertaining thoughts related to the Super Bowl.

The NFL offseason is officially here; what’s on Kelly’s to-do list?

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Geoff Mosher would keep 11 of the 26 defensive players who ended the season on the Eagles’ roster or practice squad. Here is what he had to say about Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and DeMeco Ryans:

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie: Falls into Nnamdi’s category. I’m not convinced he can’t play, but I am convinced that the secondary needs a new face and identity. Goes.

DeMeco Ryans: If there’s a trade partner out there, pull the trigger. If not, keep him and he can be a serviceable base linebacker, even in the 3-4. But he’s not a star. Stays.

OK, so the Eagles probably won’t be in next year’s Super Bowl, which will be held in New York. But it sure would be interesting if they did make it. From Adam Schefter:

Next season’s NFC champion will spend the week at the Giants’ practice facility in East Rutherford, N.J. in preparation for Super Bowl XLVIII, while next season’s AFC champion will spend the week at the Jets’ practice facility in Florham Park, N.J. Imagine if one of the Giants’ division opponents — the Redskins, Cowboys or Eagles — wins the NFC championship and spends the week in its rival’s building. The Giants would have to clean out their belongings well in advance. Even better, imagine if the Patriots won next season’s AFC championship and got to spend the week in the Jets’ building. Two organizations that like each other less than any other two organizations in sports would be forced to share the Jets’ training complex. It would be one of the oddest scenes in a crazy New York week that could feature many of them.

COMING UP

Kelly’s coaching staff could be announced at any time. We’ll keep you posted.