There is really only one word to describe the emotion in Philadelphia now that Andy Reid has finally left the Eagles. Hallelujah.
Of course, fans are being advised not to rejoice today. You are being told to remember only the good times. At his first news conference in five months, Jeff Lurie couldn’t gush enough about six division championships, five NFC championship games and one Super Bowl. The owner even called Reid “a gem of a person.”
Your response to all this nonsense should be something Reid never was, honest. Shout hallelujah today because Reid was neither a great coach during his interminable time here, nor a nice man. He was a bumbler on the sidelines, unable to master timeouts, referee challenges or two-minute drills. Off the field, he was ruthless.
If you want the truth about Reid, ask David Akers. The most productive Eagles kicker of all-time missed two field goals in the last playoff game of Reid’s tenure. He, too, was dealing with a family crisis in his final year here; his 6-year-old daughter was battling cancer. In the end, Reid didn’t care. He blamed Akers for the five-point loss, and then dumped his best kicker ever.
And Akers was not an isolated case. Brian Dawkins was dismissed without one word of explanation. Reid merely said it was “Stacy Andrews Day” and waved off all comment about the best player he ever coached. Juan Castillo, here three years longer than Reid, got bounced six games into the 2012 season. Loyalty was just another broken promise by Andy Reid.
The real loyalty during his tenure here was provided by the very fans the coach insulted on a daily basis. Reid would blabber after every loss about how he had to “take full responsibility” and “do a better job,” while fans filled every single seat for 14 seasons despite insane personal-seat licenses, outrageous concession prices and skyrocketing parking fees.
Was it asking too much after so many budget-busting Sundays at Lincoln Financial Field for the coach to explain the real reason why LeSean McCoy was still carrying the ball — and getting hurt — in a game the Eagles were trailing 31-6 with two minutes left? Apparently, it was. Under Reid, all appeals for truth were futile. He didn’t give a damn about the fans. He proved that every time he opened his mouth.
Andy Reid was an overrated coach who profited from a weak NFC East, from the coaching magic of the late Jim Johnson and from an owner who gave him every benefit of every doubt. Reid will get another job very soon. And he will fail at it, for all the reasons stated above. Bet on it.
But Reid’s future is not our problem anymore. His many failings are no longer our concern. And that’s why one word says it all today. Hallelujah.
Step one, dump Roseman
As Jeff Lurie begins his search for a coach who can lead the Eagles out of this quagmire, the owner is already refusing to deal with the reality of a bleak situation. Andy Reid was the biggest problem on this 4-12 team, but he was definitely not the only problem.
What Lurie really needs to do is take a long look at Howie Roseman, a lawyer who has done far more harm than good since moving from contract negotiations to player procurement. The owner claimed Monday that he has taken “copious notes” about the performance of Roseman and others in the Eagles’ front office, and Roseman has emerged as the shining light of the organization.
At the height of his ravings, Lurie even suggested that Roseman had no responsibility for the horrific 2011 draft. Hello? Roseman himself told the story many times about how he phoned Reid from the college combine last year and announced his amazing first-round discovery, Danny Watkins.
Watkins is such a total bust, he didn’t even dress in the last two games of 2012 despite a roster consisting of some of the worst offensive linemen in team history. If Roseman saw a star in Watkins, why should anyone have faith that he will help to find the right coach? And what trust should we have in Lurie, whose “extensive research” failed to turn up Roseman’s leading role in drafting Watkins?
What was most alarming was Lurie’s total ignorance of what his franchise lacks most, and that is football intelligence. The owner must find a leader to identify how best to build a team that can actually win the Eagles’ first championship in more than half a century. It is not Howie Roseman, nor is it Lurie himself.
If the owner cannot admit these simple truths, the welcome exit of Andy Reid will not be the new beginning we all so desperately need.
Step two, shake up the roster
Even in the end, after a 42-7 national humiliation, the disgraceful players who represented the 2012 Eagles showed no anguish. They were an awful team that quit on a coach they professed to admire, but they walked away with little acknowledgment of their own spectacular failures.
For example, free-agent bust Nnamdi Asomugha gave up his fifth touchdown pass of the season, got called for two pass-interference penalties and was finally benched. After the Giants’ debacle, Asomugha actually had the audacity to say he was puzzled by his inconsistency this year, mixing “great moments” with occasional stumbles. Great moments? Is he serious?
Mike Vick had one brief moment of clarity after another bad performance when he called into question the desire of his teammates. When pressed, he backed off the claim entirely. If he wasn’t willing to admit that his teammates had quit on him and his beloved coach, he is no leader. He needs to go.
So do Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Nate Allen, Kurt Coleman, Trent Cole, Cullen Jenkins, Danny Watkins, King Dunlap, Dallas Reynolds and pretty much every player on special teams. They all brought disgrace to a proud franchise. The Eagles will be better off without them.
This has been a torturous season for a loyal fan base that deserves so much better, but there are better times ahead. Now we get to watch justice served. Now we get to see the gutless players who ruined this season get what they deserve.
Idle thoughts from Cataldi
» One of the early favorites to replace Andy Reid is Penn State coach Bill O’Brien, and it makes perfect sense. O’Brien has the one thing that most impresses Eagles owner Jeff Lurie, a New England Patriots connection. O’Brien would be a major improvement over Reid. Then again, so would Rich Kotite.
» Silver Linings Playbook is the best movie of 2012, and not just because it is set right here in Philadelphia. The film brilliantly juxtaposes the serious issue of mental illness with the warped mindset of our nuttiest Eagles fans. Absolutely awesome in every way.
» A funny thing happened to the Sixers as soon as the schedule got more challenging. They showed they are not just a mediocre team, but also a boring one. One more time: The season starts the day Andrew Bynum steps onto the court to play in a game. Before that, the Sixers are a waste of your time.
» It is painfully clear now that our best hope for another parade is the 2013 Phillies, age be damned. So when you’re wishing people good health in this new year, start with Roy Halladay, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Michael Young. If these old-timers can just hold it together, who knows?
» My first resolution for 2013 is not to use bad language, but then I started thinking about Gary Bettman, Donald Fehr, Jeff Lurie, Andy Reid, Andrew Bynum, Jimmy Rollins, Jason Babin, Donovan McNabb and so on. Finally, I just said bleep it.