Jeff Lurie’s steadfast and almost fanatical loyalty to Howie Roseman remains one of the great mysteries surrounding the Eagles.
We’ve all asked ourselves why Lurie continues to defend everything Roseman does, no matter how shaky Roseman’s draft record, no matter how many big-ticket free agency misses, no matter how glaring the lack of young talent on the roster.
I appreciate all the explanations I’ve gotten on Twitter - Howie has pictures or Howie has a Voodoo doll or Howie has Jeffrey hypnotized.
All reasonable suggestions.
But probably not.
To really understand Lurie’s unwavering trust in Roseman you have to understand Howie.
Say what you will about his recent drafts, Roseman is a very smart guy and quite accomplished. He’s a graduate of Fordham Law and a guy who went from unpaid intern under Joe Banner with the Eagles in 1998 to Vice President of football administration in 2006 to general manager in 2010 to NFL executive of the Year in 2017.
Lurie has owned the Eagles for 27 years and Roseman has been there for 22 of those years. Roseman is 45, so he’s spent half of his life working under Lurie.
Even Joe Banner, Lurie’s boyhood friend and one of the key figures in the Eagles’ success under Andy Reid, didn’t last this long under Lurie.
Roseman has been Lurie’s trusted adviser longer than anybody.
And for most of Roseman’s time with the Eagles, the franchise has been successful.
In his first stint as general manager, from 2010 through 2014, the Eagles had three 10-win seasons under two coaches and drafted all-time greats such as Jason Kelce, Fletcher Cox, Nick Foles, Brandon Graham, Lane Johnson and Zach Ertz. Andy Reid was behind a lot of those moves, but Roseman was the general manager and Lurie gives him a great deal of the credit for those picks.
In his second stint as general manager, from 2016 through now, the Eagles won a Super Bowl and reached the playoffs three straight years.
So when we see one (benched) Pro Bowler out of the last six drafts, Lurie sees a long, sustained record of success and a general manager who built the only championship team this franchise has had in the last half century.
When we see Doug Pederson getting fired amid the ruins of a four-win season, Lurie sees a Lombardi Trophy on his mantle won by a coach that Roseman helped choose and by players that Roseman helped find.
But I think the loyalty Lurie has shown Roseman goes deeper than that.
There’s a kinship there, a professional connection that really makes the two inseperable.
Roseman speaks Lurie’s language. He knows not only exactly what Lurie wants to hear but exactly how he wants to hear it.
Love him or hate him, you can’t deny that Roseman is remarkably organized, he’s passionate about football and he’s bright enough to be able to articulate a clear vision for the franchise in terms Lurie wants to hear.
When Lurie went into his nonsensical diatribe Monday about how, yeah, maybe the Eagles’ draft picks haven’t always panned out but the guys they REALLY wanted who got picked AHEAD of them turned out to be great … you can just picture Roseman expressing that to Lurie in a way that actually seemed logical to Lurie at the time.
Remember, Roseman is an attorney. He’s trained to be able to make a pretty compelling case for even the most absurd premise.
Maybe one day Lurie will fire Roseman. If the sub-par drafts continue and the losing seasons continue and the next coach doesn’t work out.
But I honestly doubt it. Lurie craves stability. He values consistency. He doesn’t trust a lot of people, and he’s got a trusted adviser who’s been at his side for a quarter of a century. A quarter of a century in which the Eagles have won a lot of football games, made the playoffs more often than not and won a Super Bowl.
In Lurie’s world, it’s been a fruitful, productive relationship for a long, long time. When you put yourself in his shoes, it’s hard to imagine it ending anytime soon.
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