Around 4:15 p.m. today, the only era of football an entire generation of Eagles Nation has ever known will come to a merciful end.
Win or lose, Andy Reid will coach his last game in hunter green, his run ending in the same city where Jimmy Hoffa is said to be buried.
The fact is, Reid has run the gauntlet in Philly and was able to survive longer than any man coaching in front of a title-starved fan base ever. He failed to deliver a Super Bowl parade. Having said that, the best coach in Eagles history took this franchise from the doldrums of the NFL to the Silver Standard of teams.
For years, friends would ponder the hypothetical proposition of whether to would trade ten losing seasons for one Super Bowl title, or have a decade of elite football and no title.
At this point, most Eagles fans want to title and that is understandable. Of course, the reason fans would sacrifice ten NFL seasons for one title is because Reid just took us on a tour of a decade among the best in the NFL. With the exceptions of the Patriots, Colts and Steelers, name one franchise better than the Eagles during Reid’s time standing along the Eagle’s sideline.
For those saying they would still be standing by Reid had he won that one title, they lie. Charlie Manual is thisclose to being run out of town just four years after ending a 25-year drought in the City of Brotherly Love.
The fact of the matter is we have a generation of Eagles fans who are truly suffering their first losing season of NFL football ever. In 2005, the Eagles went 6-10 but had just come off their second Super Bowl appearance ever. Disappointed? Yep. Suffering? No way.
Other than that, the Eagles have not posted double-digit losses since 1999. Fans born that year are now 13. Fans who were likely just learning what football was at that point are now embarking legally on bar crawls for the first time.
Seriously, fans 20 and under don’t know putrid football. Their quarterback carousel is Donovan McNabb, Kevin Kolb, Michael Vick and Nick Foles. That’s not exactly Ty Detmer, Rodney Peete and Bobby Hoying.
The fan base says “Fire Andy!” The time has come and there can be no debate about that. Anyone who wants to argue that point either has the surname “Reid” or lists “NRA Spokesperson” on his resume.
The issue revolves around how Reid will be remembered. The older generations know what Reid has done and understand the franchise could continue to go backwards without Reid.
The 20-and-under crowd assumes a new coach will keep the franchise from enduring 10-loss seasons. They likely assume the new coach will automatically return NFC Championship games to Lincoln Financial Field. They likely assume Foles or whomever is under center will play at a Pro Bowl level and win games simply because McNabb, Kolb, Vick and even Koy Detmer did that the last 14 years.
The reason an entire generation assumes those points is because of the genius of Reid. No matter what, Andy Reid created base of Eagles fans who are loyal and expect to win.
That has to be Reid’s legacy. His winning brand of football captivated the region and even helped overcome bad parenting in the region. There are Eagles fans being raised in Cowboy households.
Without the last 14 years of football in South Philly, that doesn’t happen. Without Reid, the talk radio airwaves and Internet sites are loaded with Cowboys and Giants fans.
Thanks, Andy. Here’s to hoping for one more Brian Westbrook or DeSean Jackson moment in The Meadowlands.
However, regardless of the outcome today, your legacy is safe. You secured a generation of lifelong Eagles fans in a way few have.
EagleNation wouldn’t trade the last 14 seasons as a whole for anything outside of Foxboro or Pittsburgh.