To be honest, I really don’t know what to expect from the crowd when Big Red trounces back onto the sidelines at Lincoln Financial Field for the first time since being FIRED as the Eagles head coach.
It’s definitely going to be weird, from the reaction to seeing Big Red literally looking big and red to being the benefactor of his
piss-poor nonexistent time management skills. I can’t get a read on how I’m feeling personally about the game, but perhaps talking through it will help shed some light on why some fans may cheer and why many more are likely to boo Reid right outta Philly.
There’s no denying that Andy Reid but Eagles football on the map during his 14 year dictatorship in Philly. From the 6 NFC East titles, to the 5 NFC Championship games, and the one Super Bowl appearance, we enjoyed a great deal of success and winning with him on the sidelines.
In fact, we were spoiled with so much success that it blinded us from just how good we had it. Under Reid, the Eagles had one of the most feared defenses in the league on an annual basis—guys like Dawkins, Vincent, Trotter, Cole, Sheppard, Simon. No group played with as much heart and passion as those guys. We also had stability at one of the most important positions in sports with Donovan McNabb under center for 11 seasons. During that time the other NFC East teams (with the exception of the Giants, sort of) marched out myriad QBs and had little success finding stability. Dallas 8 guys start at least 5 games, Washington had 10, and the G-men had 3. Having just McNabb—minus injuries—meant we knew who our guy was and that was that.
You can’t discount the amount of success Reid had as the Eagles head coach, and, despite the shortcomings that I’m about to get to, we were lucky to have this man on our side—but he definitely overstayed his welcome by a year or two.
The last two years were absolute hell. Let’s not forget that this was a team that made the playoffs in 2010 only to go 12-20 in 2011 and 2012.
What the hell, man?
All of that speed and talent, and he couldn’t do anything with it. Jeffrey Lurie decided to give him a chance to improve on the 8-8 showing in 2011, and Reid answered by collapsing in 2012. Maybe it was hiring his offensive live coach to be defensive coordinator that did him in, or switching to the Wide-as-that-broad’s-vagina-on-the-dancing-pole-at-strip-club 9, or his containing Mike Vick and trying to make him something he’s not (a pocket passer). Whatever it was, it failed. Miserably.
Reid’s biggest downfall though (there are many, but this one stands out), is how predictable his coaching style is. Pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, run, pass, pass, pass, pass. Now, this could potentially still be a problem tonight as the Chip-Kelly-Eagles have given me little reason to believe they can stop the pass, but with Reid on the other sideline, you can’t say you didn’t know what you were going up against. Even though he had names like Waters, Staley, Westbrook, and McCoy in the backfield, Reid would consistently throw the ball 40-50 times a game. And it didn’t matter how bad things were going, he never made adjustments. “Three three-and-outs in a row and an interception through one quarter? Hell, if we stick with the pass things are going to have to turn around eventually, right?” A good 20 percent of those pass plays were screens and dumps, which count as runs in most circles, but look what happened in week 1 against the Redskins when Shady touched the ball 31 times—he nearly set a career record for rushing yards in a game.
Then there’s the whole clock management issue. There are few guarantees in life: death, taxes, and Andy Reid burning all of your goddamn timeouts well before halftime or the end of the 4th quarter. Too often the media, TV analysts, the commentators calling the game would have to question what in the hell Reid was thinking calling a timeout on a 3rd-and-1 in the first quarter of a scoreless game. So, so frustrating.
Predicting the Reaction
Given the recent history, and the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately nature of Philly fans (rolling myself up with that bunch), I wouldn’t be surprised if the reaction started with a lot of loud booing, maybe some Fire Andy chants here or there. But eventually people will realize that they’re booing a man who did a great deal of good here, so they’ll show him some respect, maybe a standing-O. Then the game starts and the heckling and booing picks right back up.
So, basically, a lot like this:
No matter how it goes down, I expect this to be a great matchup of two teams still trying to define who they are. Should be an awesome game to watch.