November 27, 2012, 2:00 pm
After the Eagles stumbled to yet another bad loss – this time at home against the lowly Carolina Panthers – Andy Reid made another walk of shame. He entered the press room at Lincoln Financial Field from stage right and addressed the media. The coach absorbed shot after verbal shot in the form of questions discharged without regret. It might as well have been a firing squad.
Jeffrey Lurie said 8-8 wouldn’t be good enough this season. Does that mean you’re gone?
Has Lurie assured you that you will be the coach for the remainder of the year?
How do you prevent the young players from developing a losing mentality?
Have you ever dealt with anything like this at any point in your career?
Someone should have offered him a cigarette and a blindfold.
While all this went down, Reid stood in front of the usual product placement. Behind him, there was a black sheet stamped with the Eagles logo and “Ricoh,” one of the team’s corporate sponsors. Ricoh’s tagline – two simple, appropriate words given the circumstances – were also printed on the backdrop: “Imagine. Change.”
Eagles fans everywhere have no doubt imagined change. And they will finally get it. This is it for Reid. This will be his last year as the head coach. It has to be. Everyone from Rittenhouse to Reading knows it.
What an inglorious end to his time in town.
Is there any sympathy for Reid considering his ineffable plight? Or are Philadelphians past that point? Has the overwhelming desire to dismiss the coach numbed the fan base to the pain and embarrassment he must feel?
The Eagles are 3-8. They are tied for last place in the NFC. They have lost seven straight games. The last time they had such a long losing streak was back in 1994. Rich Kotite, who is remembered as a bungler who couldn’t keep his play chart dry, was the head coach. That’s how horrible things have gotten for Reid. His coaching career now parallels, in small part, the disastrous conclusion to Kotite’s time here.
Reid is a far better coach than Kotite ever hoped to be. Whatever you think of Reid, that much is indisputable. The man has done a lot of good things for the organization.
And yet it is impossible to deny to that he is ultimately responsible for the issues that continue to plague this team week after unacceptable week. The underperforming players. The overmatched coaches. The curious, ineffective schemes. They can all be traced back to Reid. So much has gone wrong. It has all deteriorated so quickly. What happened?
“If I had that answer for you, it would have already been done,” Reid said at the NovaCare Complex on Monday.
He sounded deflated – has for a while now. Like the rest of the area, Reid seems resigned to his fate. He is an obviously prideful man who is enduring a protracted public humiliation. It is hard to watch, even if the situation is a result of his actions and inactions.
Things have completely crumbled for Reid and the Eagles. You look around the league and it’s hard to believe how far the team has fallen. The Eagles’ record lumps them with the likes of Carolina and Cleveland, Jacksonville and Kansas City. That is awful company. Call it the Club of the Clueless. The Eagles are members.
“Right now it’s not enough,” Reid said about the team’s effort. “I can’t stand here and tell you it’s enough.”
Their performance has obviously not been enough. Not even close. It hasn’t been for some time.
At best, if they win all their remaining games – a laughable fantasy – they will finish with a .500 record. What an unceremonious and ignominious conclusion to Reid’s tour of duty in Philadelphia.
“I have the upmost respect for Andy,” Brent Celek said after the Panthers game. “I think he is one of the greatest coaches around. I think we, as players, need to step up and start doing our jobs. I feel bad for him, because he is in a horrible situation in a town that is critical, and rightly so. If I were a fan, I would be mad too.”
There are plenty of people who are angry. They call radio shows and grouse on barstools and shake their fists without end. They have had their pitchforks sharpened for years, and now they get to skewer Reid repeatedly. With each game, the mob grows. There’s no stopping it.
Nothing lasts forever. The end had to come eventually for Reid. But who could have imagined it going down like this? Who could have anticipated that he would not only get kicked while he’s down but also stomped flat?
He makes a healthy salary. He’s a professional. But, at the moment, is there anyone in sports whom you’d rather be less than Andy Reid?
E-mail John Gonzalez at firstname.lastname@example.org