The Eagles might have been looking to hire Mike Holmgren to replace head coach Ray Rhodes after a disastrous 1998 season, but unable to land him, they courted his assistant and offensive wiz, Andy Reid. On January 11th, 1999, the decision became final, and Walrus Jr. was on his way to becoming the 20th coach to lead the Green and White. Joining QB and recent #2 draft pick Donovan McNabb as a fellow rookie to the Birds, Reid was charged with turning around a franchise still looking to get back to the glory days of Dick Vermeil, or at least the memorable days of Buddy Ryan.
11 years later and Andy Reid's stay has been...dramatic, to say the least. With eight playoff appearances to his credit in that time span, on the surface Reid would have to be considered among the most successful NFL coaches over that time span. But Andy has nonetheless come under fire repeatedly over the course of his tenure in Philadelphia, for his reserved, uninspiring demeanor, for his occasionally infuriating statements and press conferences, for his perplexing game and clock-management decisions, and most of all, for his seeming inability to win the big one, with the Birds going 0-8 for Super Bowls in their 00s playoff appearances, and only even making the game once.
A recent three-year extension assures that, barring some catastrophe (which is never completely un-barrable, i suppose), Andy Reid will be with the Eagles until 2013, a decision that has caused understandable consternation and mild nausea in a number of Birds fans. Personally, though, I've adapted the sink-or-swim mindset with both Reid and McNabb, in that I feel like for better or worse, they are the coach and quarterback that this franchise has merited and is stuck with, and we need to ride both of them out until one or both of them actually dies (of causes natural or unnatural) on the football field--a fate that might not be as far off as you or I think. Ultimately, what we have with with the two of them is a somewhat tragic but highly poetic three-way relationship between
team, quarterback and city, and really, I can't imagine it any other
That said, it's always interesting to thing what the franchise would look like now had Philly gone the Mike Holmgren / Ricky Williams route back in '99. Three Super Bowls? Zero playoff appearances? A ten-year streak of 9-7 seasons? Anyone's call, but one thing I can guarantee you is that it's not quite the same decade we just had--nor would it be with any duo besides these two.