On Nov. 17, a day after the
Eagles had suffered that pitiful 13-13 tie with the Cincinnati Bengals, I wrote that Reid era had run its course and would never bring a Super Bowl championship to Philadelphia.
I said it was time for the
Eagles to move in another direction.
Since then, the strange things I said could happen in this league did. The Eagles rallied to win four of their final five, miraculously made the playoffs with a pedestrian 9-6-1 record and beat the Minnesota Vikings in the wild-card round.
So do I eat some humble pie for doubting "Big Red"?
Sneaking into the playoffs and winning a wild-card game does not prove me wrong about Reid. The only thing Reid has accomplished is what he's already proved he can accomplish in his decade with the Eagles - get into the playoffs and win a game or two.
Nobody ever said he couldn't do that - and if that is all you require from your NFL team, then keep the status quo.
I will modify my position on firing Reid as head coach. The man made the playoffs, and you don't punish a coach for doing that.
But I'm not sold that everything is suddenly Happy Town.
Thus far, there has been absolutely nothing extraordinary about this season. It's probably the least impressive of Reid's seven playoff appearances with the Eagles.
Because the Giants are next up, Reid has been compared to New York coach Tom Coughlin, who was being shoved out of the Big Apple until the G-Men made their run to the Super Bowl last year.
That comparison won't even begin to have any credence until the Eagles win in Giants Stadium to reach the NFC Championship Game.
This game will tell a lot about Reid.
Statistics can be shuffled any way you want, but the bottom line is that the Eagles have won five of their previous six games overall, because Reid, even though he won't acknowledge it, altered his game plan and committed to running the football.
That was never more evident than on Dec. 7, when the Eagles ran the ball a season-high 42 times in a convincing smash-mouth victory at New York.
Will Reid stick with the balanced attack that has been successful, or will he revert to the pass-happy assault he has been known to deploy in these situations?
If the Giants beat the Eagles simply because they are the better team, that's one thing.
But if the Eagles go down because Reid refused to stick with the running game and instead has quarterback Donovan McNabb throw 45 passes in the cold and swirling winds, we'll be right back were we started from in Cincinnati.
I think Reid is a good football coach. I have serious reservations about him having complete control over football operations, but I would say that about any coach. I think you need the checks and balances from a strong general manager to become a championship franchise.
The Eagles are still alive in the playoffs.
It would be silly to stick with the notion that a coach who has a chance to advance to the NFC Championship Game should be fired.
Still, the reasoning that shaped my original conclusion holds firm.
I believe Reid is still convinced his systems and philosophies will win a Super Bowl.
I disagree, and 9-6-1 and one playoff win have done little to change my mind. *
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