31 December 2012
End of an Era
This Sunday featured many exciting games with playoff implications. Sadly, the Eagles game was not one of them. The 42-7 rout was a microcosm of everything that's been wrong with the Eagles in 2012. And that's all I have to say about that.
Well, other than to point out to the gloating Giants fans: I realize that the last time you saw the Eagles in 2012 was when we beat you on Sunday Night Football at the end of September, so you might not know. But hanging 42 points on this team is nothing to be proud of. Pissing on Andy Reid's grave - which is what you're doing now - just shows a complete lack of class. And 9-7 and 4-12 will look pretty much the same next week, when both teams are watching the playoffs from their man caves. Only the Eagles scored a higher draft pick.
Now that I have that off my chest, I want to talk about Andy Reid a little.
I am, as my bio states, a life-long Eagles fan. My earliest football memory was when Dick Vermeil came to Philly. I was 5. I have fond memories of Sunday afternoons in front of the TV, hoagies in hand, cheering for Jaws, Wilbert Montgomery, Harold Carmichael, Mike Quick, Herm Edwards,
the Minister of Defense Reggie White, and later on, under Buddy Ryan, Randall Scramble, Cris Cater, Andre Waters, Jerome Brown, and Seth Joyner. By that point, I was in college and used to go over to the only all-male dorm on campus every weekend to watch the games, which were on in the lounges.
And then I graduated and moved out of state for grad school. This was way before the Sunday Ticket era, and I went to grad school at a college football mad university in a town with no pro team nearby. On the upside, I missed part of the Rich Kotite and pretty much all of the Ray Rhodes years. On the downside, I lost touch with my beloved Eagles.
And then I moved to the home city of a divisional rival. And Jeff Lurie hired this unknown quarterbacks coach from Green Bay named Andy Reid, who proceeded to draft this guy out of Syracuse (not exactly a football powerhouse) Donovan McNabb.
And then: Duce Staley. Brian Westbrook. Brian Dawkins. Hugh Douglas. John Runyan, David Akers. Jeremiah Trotter. Troy Vincent. Darwin Walker. Tre Thomas. Lito Sheppard. Sheldon Brown.
And then the rest followed: five playoff appearances in a row. Four NFC championship games in a row. The Super Bowl loss to those big cheaters, the Patriots. The 2005 disaster year. The miraculous run into the playoffs under Jeff Garcia in 2006, after McNabb went down with the sports hernia. Then McNabb down again in 2007 with the ACL tear. Then the equally miraculous run back to the NFC Championship game in 2008. Playoffs again in 2009 and 2010.
Even though - and it's a big "but" - the Eagles never brought home the Lombardi trophy, Andy Reid brought this team and this city the most sustained period of success we've ever seen. He changed expectations for all of us. He gave me back my fandom.
I hope he takes a little time off. After the past two years, which have been extremely difficult both personally and professionally, I think he needs it. After that? I wish him nothing but success wherever he goes. Godspeed, Big Red. Unless you goes to Dallas, in which case all bets are off.
I will pick the playoff matchups and recap the playoff games, even though the Eagles are out, so I'll share my thoughts about the 12 teams when I pick Wildcard Weekend. I *will* say this now: at the beginning of the season, I was thinking 49ers/Texans Super Bowl. Not anymore.