Friday, February 25, 2011
Posted: 6 a.m.
By Reuben Frank
INDIANAPOLIS Youre furious that the Eagles havent won a Super Bowl under Andy Reid and havent even won a playoff game the last couple years.
You think just winning 10 games and reaching the playoffs almost every year isnt good enough.
Youre weary of seeing parades in Pittsburgh, Green Bay, New Orleans and other NFL cities.
Andy Reid understands. Because Andy Reid feels exactly the same way.
He really does.
Ive been lucky enough to win a Super Bowl in my career (as an assistant with the Packers in 1995), and when youve done that, you want that every year, Reid said. Thats what you want. Every year. So when you go to the conference championships and if you lose those games or you win it and go to the Super Bowl and lose that game, youre not happy. Thats not a good thing.
I am every year shooting to get to the Super Bowl and win the Super Bowl. Now, we went through a pretty good run there (from 2000 through 2008), and the players got a little bit older and we made some changes, so is it going to happen right away? Well, it might not. But thats not my mentality. My mentality is that were going to get that thing right and go. And if you hit it right, anythings possible.
Reid enters his 13th offseason as the Eagles head coach presiding over a football team thats experienced great change over the past year or two. Tons of young players. An overhauled coaching staff. A new defensive coordinator. New quarterback.
The one constant has been Reid. And disappointing ends to the last dozen seasons.
But in a lengthy exclusive interview with CSNPhilly.com here as the NFL Scouting Combine got started, Reid reaffirmed his commitment to his job and to the team hes led to the playoffs nine of the last 11 seasons and said hes as enthusiastic about his job today as he was when he was hired a little over 12 years ago.
I like this football team, he said. I like where were going. Weve got to do some things better as coaches and players, and weve got to look at the personnel and make sure that parts right, and well do that. Thats how were going.
I dont think anybody, except maybe those guys in that locker room, probably thought that wed get quite as far as we did this past year, but everybody pulled together and worked as a team and we got a couple breaks here and there and things worked out pretty well, and I think everybody going into this offseason is really fired up about this next year and what it presents.
Therell be some great challenges, but at the same time, we all know that weve got some great players.
The Andy Reid Paradox has been well-documented.
His .618 winning percentage is 17th best in NFL history among those who have coached 100 or more games, and only 10 coaches in NFL history have more than Reids 10 postseason wins.
But the big prize, the only prize that matters, continues to elude him.
Only three coaches in history Bud Grant, Marty Schottenheimer and Chuck Knox have reached the playoffs more than Reid without winning an NFL Championship or Super Bowl.
And only 10 head coaches have coached more NFL regular-season games without winning a title.
But Reid doesnt dwell on the disappointment. He doesnt obsess on the absence of a Vince Lombardi Trophy from the lobby of the NovaCare Complex. Thats not to say that he doesnt desperately want to bring a championship to Philly. He does. Its just that he doesnt get caught up in the past because he believes thats not the best way to try to end the franchises 50-year title drought.
Anything that takes away from what youre trying to accomplish, thats not a good thing, Reid said. I think if you get into the woe is me and all that, then you have a problem. I think its that way as a player, I think its that way as a coach. Its that way for anybody involved in this. Probably anybody in life its that way. If youre feeling sorry for yourself, youre going to get your tail kicked. Youre going to get buried and its not going to work.
So I dont even go there. I dont even let my mind drift onto that. Im always looking for ways to get better. What can I do better? What can we do better? Thats something I can control, so thats where I attack.
Reid said speculation among Eagles fans and some in the media that hes planning to step down as head coach in a year or two is off target.
He understands how frustrated fans are. He really does. And his answer for that is that hes working 20 hours a day, 11 months a year to try to bring them what they want more than anything.
Not another division title or NFC title game appearance but a Super Bowl victory.
So hes not planning to go anywhere just yet. He doesnt feel stale. Doesnt feel tired. Doesnt feel burned out.
I dont feel that way, he said. Ive been in this league long enough to see coaches and hear what theyve said, that theyve gotten to a point where things are stale and they need a change in life, whatever it might be, or a change in team. And I dont feel that way. Thats not where Im at.
I enjoy every day that I have an opportunity to coach in Philadelphia. I honestly get fired up and excited about it. I know from a personal standpoint, Im fired up. New challenges and changes. I think change is important. In this NFL today, things change and it keeps you on your toes and fresh.
I enjoy the players. I know coaches will tell you at times they feel like theyre coaching a different generation or whatever it might be, but thats not how I feel. I enjoy the energy that the young players bring as well as the older players and the coaching staff.
Reid has come under intense criticism for a lot of things, some of it deserved, some of it not deserved. But one irony of his tenure with the Eagles is that some his most controversial or bewildering moves trading Donovan McNabb after a playoff and Pro Bowl season, signing Michael Vick soon after he was released from prison, sticking with Vick instead of going back to Kevin Kolb this past September, cutting ties with popular and productive veterans like Jon Runyan, Brian Dawkins, Corey Simon, Brian Westbrook over the years have been the most successful.
Reid said its the trust and support he gets from owner Jeff Lurie and team president Joe Banner that allows him to make unpopular, difficult and risky moves. Without that trust, hed never be able to move a lifetime offensive line coach to defensive coordinator a move the jury is still out on.
But he said that every move, every decision, no matter how strange or bizarre as it might seem, is made for one reason.
To try and get this team to the Super Bowl.
No. 1, youve got to try to be real with yourself and the moves you make youre going to believe in and are best for the Philadelphia Eagles, he said. And if you dont put yourself and the players, anything above the team, youre OK. As long as you look that way. So all of the moves, Im looking at them, OK, listen, whether its popular or not popular, I think this is best for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Take all the emotion out of it and trust that. I get great support within the organization. I think some of that gets overlooked and I know at times people say Im being forced into doing this or that, and I can honestly say that doesnt happen. Thats not what goes on in our building.
And Reid has heard the charge that the franchise is more interested in making money than winning a title. That the Eagles just want to be competitive but arent genuinely committed to winning a title.
Thats just not the case, he said. Thats not how this works. Were here to win the Super Bowl. Thats the one thing were striving to do. Whether its the way we practice, the way we draft, the way we go about our training camp, the decision-making practice, how the cap is utilized everything is set up to win the Super Bowl. But we havent gotten the Super Bowl ring. We all want it, and thats what were all shooting for. Everything we do is for that one goal.
E-mail Reuben Frank at email@example.com.
Part 2 of Reuben Frank's exclusive sitdown with Andy Reid will be posted Saturday.
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