Andy Reid Is On the Clock

Why the coach should get only one more season to win it all

During a week where writing angles become a little dull in prelude to a big NFL playoff game, the Inquirer trotted out the ol’ “Andy Reid Should Be Cherished” story.

Through about 25 column inches and about 2,000 words, the Inquirer column pounded home this singular message: We Could Have Done Worse.

It always amazes me that in a sports town as supposedly rough and demanding as Philadelphia that we sometimes morph into a society of mamby-pambies. Andy Reid has had a decent track record of winning games as the coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. And so, the theory goes, we should just step back and enjoy it instead of demanding more, demanding more as in demanding a championship instead of settling for the bird in the hand. I want the two in the bush, goddamn it! [SIGNUP]

When I get going on this kind of rant, I am always reminded by the scared rabbits out there: well Mike, we could be the Detroit Lions, do you want that? At least we win double-digit games every season and go to the playoffs. My retort is, well yeah, but we could also be the New England Patriots or the Pittsburgh Steelers, or even the Indianapolis Colts, organizations that win a lot of games every year, but also mix in a championship or two!

I don’t think Andy Reid is a bad coach.

I think he is tremendously organized. I think he has put forth a posture to his troops that, like a good general in combat, he is the one in charge. I looked at Tom Coughlin in the last few weeks of the New York Giants season and saw a cantankerous, cranky, jumpy, panicky coach who came unglued every time his team made a mistake. That’s horrible leadership. In times of trouble, a team needs guidance, not panic. And I’m quite sure that the Giants horrible record in December under Coughlin has a lot to do with his team getting a bad message from their head coach in the most crucial of times during a game and a season. And I’m glad that Andy Reid is more stoic, because that conveys confidence to his players.

But he hasn’t won anything and I wonder why not.

By now, we all know that Reid is not the best game day coach. The game plan the Eagles take into a playoff game may be solid on paper, but time and again Reid has faltered to make adjustments to that game plan when it is called for. He’s not the greatest thinker on his feet, as time management and challenge problems continue to haunt the Eagles. His teams take a ton of penalties, which speaks to their discipline. His pass to run disparity usually skunks the Eagles in the biggest of big games because his game plan relies heavily on the quarterback to make plays, as it will be this Sunday against the Green Bay Packers.

How many years should a coach get to win a championship? How many coaches have been allowed to keep their jobs after 12 years without the hardware? Bill Cowher. Jeff Fisher. Who else?

The coaching mold did not break with Andy Reid. There’s always another guy out there who’s good enough to build a team. Who’s to say that another coach hired by the Eagles — whether it be at the time Reid was hired, or somewhere in the middle of the Reid tenure, a new coach brought in after Reid’s first five-year stint didn’t yield a championship — couldn’t have won a title by now?

On the Missanelli clock, Andy Reid has only this season, and one more, to win something. Could it happen this year? No. The Eagles, even if they’re the NFC representative in the Super Bowl, aren’t going to beat the New England Patriots. It would be wonderful just to get to the SB this year. But next year? Yes, I demand it. Reid will have one off-season to spruce up the defense. And by the starting of the 2011 season, I will expect the Birds to be the top contender to win the whole thing.

And I don’t care anymore how many wins he has on his ledger. At this point, only the Vince Lombardi Trophy is acceptable.