There are, at minimum, four coaching moves expected today or very early this week which will be greeted with the kind of surprise I showed as a 12-year-old on Christmas morning when a hockey stick was wrapped and ready under the tree. It looked like a hockey stick, and therefore it was a hockey stick. When the element of surprise is gone, we yawn and move on to the next cool thing.
For the Eagles, that neat and fun toy could be Chip Kelly.
Or it might not be, with his unorthodox offensive teachings too scary for owner Jeffrey Lurie. For fantasy purposes, Philly is the ideal landing spot for Kelly since he could easily convince Michael Vick to stay, making him and his legs relevant again as a viable fantasy option. But the Kelly sweepstakes won’t begin in earnest until Thursday after the Fiesta Bowl, and in truth although Nick Foles still may not be the answer, Vick staying remains the longest of the long, clawing longshots.
Mike McCoy is another strong candidate. He’s the offensive coordinator in Denver who received consideration for several jobs last year, and is one season removed from taking an offense that tolerated Tim Tebow as its starting quarterback to the playoffs, and beating the Steelers. And now he’s been able to slowly nurture Peyton Manning back to life early this year, making Denver a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
For Reid, his firing is a move that’s felt inevitable for nearly a year. His spiral began when Juan Castillo was named the defensive coordinator heading into the 2011 season after he had no experience whatsoever in that position. His expertise was as an offensive line coach, and the result of the move then was both a weak O-line in front of a feeble quarterback, and an overall leaky defense. That didn’t change this year, and it led to Castillo’s dismissal.
Football is no different from sports as a whole with its recency bias, except often that mental framework is accelerated due to the brevity of each season. So what we’ll remember most right now about Reid is his ultimate ending in Philadelphia, and his failure to succeed with an abundance of talent, especially after an offseason spending spree following the lockout which resulted in the ill-fated dream team. And that’s fair, because it’s his failing, and he needs to wear it for now.
But we’ll forget that over his 14 years in Philadelphia, Reid’s Eagles made the playoffs nine times, advancing to the NFC Championship game three times, and the Super Bowl once. Overall his record finishes at 130-93-1, still a high win percentage despite the struggles of the last two seasons, although his legacy will be tied to an inability to win on the NFL’s brightest stages.
That’s not fair, but it’s reality. While we have a deep pool of statistics to use while judging position players, coaches are evaluated using two simple metrics: wins, and championships.
So, what’s next for Reid? Maybe San Diego, or maybe Arizona. Or maybe he’ll get Jeff Fisher’ed and take a year off before returning.
But he’s not done yet.