ESPN.com put out a power rating of current NFL head coaches this week, and our own Eagles coach Andy Reid finished third, behind Patriots coach Bill Belichick and Steelers coach Mike Tomlin. The last two Super Bowl winning head coaches, Mike McCarthy and Sean Payton, finished 4th and 5th behind Reid respectively. Lists like this are always highly subjective, and Reid’s third place finish is already causing debate among Eagles bloggers and the Twitterverse. (It also doesn’t help that we have nothing else to talk about besides the Lockout.) Considering that Rex Ryan is seventh on the list and Lovie Smith is eighth, the third place finish may be more of a commentary about the level of current head coaches in the NFL than anything else.
What has become clear to me since the poll came out, is that Eagle fans sure do take Big Red for granted. Almost everything I’ve read or heard about Reid’s place on the poll from Eagles fans and writers has been along the vein of “Reid was third? Really?” I’ll admit, that was my initial reaction as well. But then I began to reflect on it and did some research, and it made more sense. (I know, I promised there would be no math.)
When Titans coach Jeff Fischer resigned (was fired, forced out, whatever) a few months ago, Reid became the longest active tenured coach in the NFL. He’s coached the Birds for 12 seasons, has had only one sub .500 season since his first year and has a regular season winning percentage of .617. He’s won six NFC East titles, 10 playoff games, taken the team to five NFC Title games and one Super Bowl. I know you all know that already, but when you see it broken down like that in black and white, you realize how phenomenal he’s actually been.
I can already hear you some of you saying, “Yeah, but he never won the big one!” Okay, well allow me to retort: Since the Eagles appearance in Super Bowl XV in 1980 to the hiring of Andy Reid in 1999, the Eagles won a total of two playoff games. TWO! Nowadays, the city gets all huffy puffs if the Birds don’t win two playoff games in one post season. I wish Andy would have brought home a Lombardi trophy for us by now too, and I still think he will. But having a team that’s been competitive virtually every year he’s coached has been an awesome ride.
So am I saying that Coach Reid is beyond reproach? Of course not. I am an Eagles fan after all, and a birthright of every Eagles fans is to complain about everything. Andy’s is nowhere near perfect, but he has earned the right to keep coaching the team for a long time. Unless he throws together three plus sub .500 seasons in a row, he should stay our coach. Even with his bad clock management, poor run-to-pass ratio and inability to draft linebackers, Coach Reid has found a formula for success that Bird fans have grown accustomed to over the last decade and taken for granted. We are lucky to have him. I hope he stays our coach for at least another dozen years.