I sat here for a long time trying to put into words why Eagles fans should root for Andy Reid to win a Super Bowl.
And really it just comes down to this: Why wouldn’t you?
And I can’t think of one reason.
But I’m not blind to the fact that a large portion of Eagles fans — Maybe half? Maybe a third? — can’t stand Big Red, root against him all the time, hope the Chiefs lose Sunday and cackle every time Reid loses a big game.
People can root for anybody they want. There’s no rules governing this stuff. But the anti-Reid sentiment has always surprised me. And baffled me.
Where is it coming from? This isn’t Rich Kotite here.
This is the guy who took over a team that had won two playoff games in the previous 20 years, a franchise that had really lost its way, and made it relevant again.
From 2000 through 2010, the Eagles averaged 10 1/2 wins a year - most in the NFC - and won more playoff games than anybody in the league other than the Patriots and Steelers.
Year after year, the Eagles took Philly for a postseason ride. Year after year, there was meaningful football in January.
None of it culminated in a Super Bowl championship, and that’s a pretty big blotch on his resume. One that Reid is now once again two wins away from erasing.
But if we dismissed as failures everybody who came through town and didn’t win a championship, that wouldn’t leave very many people to root for.
Heck, there’s still a rather significant portion of Eagles fans who can’t stand Big Red because he never won a championship but celebrate Buddy Ryan, whose talent-laden teams went all of 0-3 in the postseason and scored one touchdown in those three playoff losses.
So what is it?
The guy has some personality quirks, no doubt about it.
“Ahem, injuries,” became a punchline around here.
Same with, “OK, injuries,” and, “I’ve got to do a better job.”
And who could ever forget, “This is Stacy’s day.”
And as a coach Big Red has his flaws, no doubt. You don’t need me to tell you about his clock management issues. About burning all his timeouts 10 minutes into a half. About not giving Brian Westbrook enough carries.
But so what? Are we really that petty that we’re hoping a guy who delivered a decade of winning football to a city starved for it loses because he wasn’t perfect?
And think about this: Without Big Red, there’s no Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham or Jason Kelce. And of course there’s no Doug Pederson, either.
Do you think the Eagles win the Super Bowl without them?
The Reid haters love to tell me how Jim Johnson was the real brains behind those great Eagles teams. And, yeah, Jim was definitely a brilliant coach and is rightfully revered in this city a decade after his tragic death.
But the reality is the Eagles during that period from 2000 through 2010 were 5th-best in the league both on offense and defense. Andy was just as capable an offense mind as Jim was on defense.
I remember talking to Andy a day or two after opening day weekend in 2013. The Chiefs had beaten the Jaguars on Sunday afternoon in Reid’s first game in Kansas City, and the Eagles beat the Redskins the next night on Monday Night Football in Chip Kelly’s first game as Eagles head coach.
Andy told me he sat in his office during that Eagles-Redskins game, “Rooting like crazy for the Eagles.”
That’s the thing about Andy. He genuinely loves this city, genuinely loves this franchise, was genuinely rooting for the team that had just fired him eight months earlier.
Andy has his flaws, like the rest of us. He’s made mistakes, like the rest of us. He’s only human, like the rest of us.
And when you get right down to it, that may be the best reason of all to root for him.
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