"He's not anymore - now Andy Reid is the longest tenured head coach in the NFL," a source (un)affiliated with the Birds gloated, before blowing into one of those obnoxious noisemakers usually reserved for New Year's Eve. "They say 90 percent of success is showing up. Well guess what? Now no one in the NFL has showed up more often than Andy."
Having coached 12 seasons in Philadelphia, Reid now sits atop the NFL's tenure list. He is one spot ahead of Bill Belichick, who has worked in New England for 11 years. It remains unclear whether Reid will channel Rex Ryan and hold a news conference to ridicule Belichick for finally coming in second at something.
The Eagles are expected to honor Reid's slow march to the not-quite top with a parade down Broad Street. The route will begin on Market Street, wind its way around City Hall, then head south toward Lincoln Financial Field. In a nod to Reid's career, the parade will stall for good around Oregon Avenue - just shy of the final desired destination.
While the Birds and Reid celebrated the head coach's new title and posed for pictures with the He's Still Here trophy - it's a brilliant bust of Marv Levy - the Titans issued a news release about Fisher's departure:
"It became evident that consensus was increasingly hard to find and reality wasn't matching the vision we discussed," the statement said. "It is unfortunate that this decision is coming at this juncture, but we believe that we have reached the point where change is in the best interest of both parties."
People (not) inside the Eagles' organization told Page 2 that the Birds' brass was confused by the Titans' official remarks. Some wondered aloud if any of it was in English or if the Titans were using some strange new language. A translator was hired to explain certain words and passages to members of the Eagles' front office, including "reality," "vision" and "we've reached the point where change is in the best interest of both parties."
High-ranking Eagles employees were also allegedly perplexed by Adam Schefter's report on ESPN. Schefter said both the Titans and Fisher decided to move on. Then he cited a league source who told him, "When something is inevitable, you might as well make it immediate."
Some Birds staffers either didn't understand the sentiment or didn't agree with it. When it was explained to team personnel that Fisher had finally left Tennessee after 16 full seasons, all of which ultimately ended in disappointment, people began chanting "four more years, four more years" whenever Reid walked into a room at the NovaCare Complex.
"Streaks mean something to the Eagles," one NFL observer told The Inquirer. "Just look at how they marked 50 seasons since the last title. I expect them to throw a huge blowout when Reid reaches and passes Fisher's mark."
Fisher, meanwhile, was ushered into the next phase of his life with one of those commemorative packages ESPN likes to run whenever someone of his stature is fired or quits or retires. Included in the "top 5 moments" of Fisher's career, according to the World Wide Leader, were the Music City Miracle and that time the Titans almost beat the St. Louis Rams to win the Super Bowl - but didn't. Somehow, growing a sweet mustache didn't make the cut.
Even now, in anticipation of Reid's eventually besting Fisher's uninterrupted stretch with one organization, our moles in Bristol tell us that ESPN is preparing the top 5 moments of Reid's career. You can never be too prepared. Here is a sneak preview of that list to date:
5. That time the Eagles reached the NFC championship game . . . and lost to the Rams.
4. That time the Eagles reached the NFC championship game . . . and lost to the Buccaneers.
3. That time the Eagles reached the NFC championship game . . . and lost to the Panthers.
2. That time the Eagles reached the NFC championship game . . . and lost to the Cardinals.
1. That time the Eagles finally reached the Super Bowl . . . and lost to the Patriots.
There's something similar about all of those, but what is it? Ah well. It'll come to us.
Contact columnist John Gonzalez at 215-854-2813 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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