The Deceiving Regular Season Record
Andy Reid is a good coach.
I don’t disagree with that statement. The guy is the all-time greatest coach in Eagles history, records-wise – leading all Eagles coaches in wins, winning percentage, games coached, division titles, playoff games and playoff wins. His overall record speaks for itself: 118-73-1, a .618 winning percentage. Or does it?
Yes, Andy’s regular season record is impressive, but when you look deeper, the numbers seem slightly (or more-than-slightly) skewed.
Of the 192 regular season games played under Andy Reid, 103 have come against teams with a record of 8-8 or better, and 89 against teams 7-9 or worse. A pretty even split.
Andy Reid’s record/winning percentage versus losing teams: 70-18-1 (.787)
And Reid’s record/winning percentage versus winning teams: 48-55 (.466)
Those are telling numbers.
Sure, Reid’s winning percentage against losing teams is nearly 80 percent – meaning his teams beat the teams they’re supposed to beat. Of course, each season there is always one inexplicable lose, a game the Eagles have no business losing going in but but somehow come out on the wrong side (see: Raiders in ’09 and Vikings in ’10). For the most part, though, Andy Reid’s teams beat bad teams.
But they don’t beat good teams.
Here’s how it breaks down per season:
The four seasons of the Andy Reid-Donovon McNabb apex in particular, 2000 to 2004, stand out. The Eagles won 11, 11, 12, 12 and 13 games during that time-frame – dominating losing teams 41-5… yet only going 18-16 against teams .500 or better. That five-year span saw some of the worst years of the NFC in league history – and the Eagles handled those teams rightfully so. But for some reason, they simply struggled against teams that were competitive.
It seems to have leveled off in recent years – the huge disparity between beating lesser teams and being mediocre against good teams – but at no point during Reid’s tenure have any of his teams been dominate against good teams. In fact, this past season was his best against winning teams – beating the Colts, Falcons and Giants as underdogs(*).
(*)Though – as I’ve pointed out before – two of those wins (the Colts and the Giants) can be attributed to things Michael Vick did on the field that determined the outcome of the game.
Look at those winning percentages again. The team wins 78% of the time against bad teams and only 46% of the time against decent-to-good teams. That’s a 32% drop-off when the competition gets tougher. And it goes even further…
The Eagles have played 19 playoff games under Reid, winning 10 of them for a .526 winning percentage. Against teams with 8 or 9 wins in the playoffs, the Eagles are 4-1, with all four wins coming in the first round they played and the one lose against the Cardinals in the NFC Championship Game. The trend continues, as the team is 6-8 versus teams with 10 or more wins in the playoffs. That’s 80% to 43%, almost identical to their regular season splits.
Translation: the deeper they go in the season, the better the team they face, the worse the Eagles are.
That’s an abysmal trend, and certainly one you don’t want to see over the tenure of one Head Coach.Again, the 2008 NFC Championship Game was the tipping point of the Andy Reid-era. That’s the furthest he can go as a Head Coach. Unless he can get a 13-3 or better Eagles team to a Super Bowl against an 8-8 or worse AFC team…
It’s time to Fire The Walrus.
How do those numbers compare to other coaches? Wouldn’t every coach of a winning team (like the Eagles) have a great record against losing teams? Winning teams automatically win more games than they lose – or they’d be losing teams.
Your numbers are intriguing, but need more research and comparison to be directly attributed to Walrus and not other coaches as well.
Great point! And thanks (I certainly like being kept honest). I just ran the numbers on Bill Belichick – the easiest contemporary of Reid to compare, especially one that has had such polar opposite success than Andy.
Belichick’s career regular record and winning percentage: 126-50 (.716)
Belichick’s record/winning percentage versus losing teams: 65-9 (.878)
Belichick’s record/winning percentage versus winning teams: 61-41 (.598)
From these numbers we can deduce a few things:
• The AFC was incredibly tougher during the 2000’s than the AFC. There is a much larger sample size of teams 8-8 or better than of teams below .500, where Reid’s number were much closer.
• Like Reid’s Eagles teams, Belichick’s Patriots have a great track record against teams they’re supposed to beat. In 11 seasons, Belichick has only lost 9 games total to teams under .500.
• Belichick’s best seasons against winning teams: 7-0 (2003), 9-1 (2004), 8-0 (2007) and 7-1 (2010). Reid’s three best: 5-2, 5-2, 6-4.
• Where Reid and Belichick differ is where it matters. Belichick is winning games against teams 8-8 or better at a 60% clip -that far outways Reid’s winning percentage (and in more games).
• In 19 playoff games (same as Reid), Belichick’s teams are 14-5, and all but one have come against teams with at least 10 wins. Oh yeah, and three of those playoff wins, were Super Bowls.
You’re exactly right: good teams beat bad teams and don’t do as well against good teams. That’s exactly what makes them good teams. But I’m not arguing that Reid hasn’t posted good teams. He has. It’s that next level, that Championship-level winning, that he just can’t seem to conquer.
Those are Belichick’s numbers as the Patriots head coach. He also coached the Browns with a QB other than Tom Brady. How did Belichick do without the best QB in the history of the NFL?
Coaches don’t play the game players do…. While Reid’s QB was hyperventilating at the end of every close game Belichick’s QB was calmly leading his team to wins.
Belichick is to Reid as Brady is to McNabb.
I have to say that I was done with Reid after the loss to the Panthers. For those who don’t remember, 03 NFC Championship game. The problem has always been exactly what your stats are showing. Underachieving against ” playoff ” teams that they were supposed to beat. Not talented, not prepared, not ready, pick your poison. The excuses are and have been old for many years now.
Just out of curiosity, what was the combined records for the CowGirls, Deadskins, and Midgets for that timeframe? As I recall, the division sucked for alot of those years.
Andy Reid coaches, he doesn’t play,that doesn’t take away the face that he does have terrible draft picks, but the players that are known for being good, need to pick there game up, including Asomugha. They can do this, maybe not this year, but possibly next year. By the way Vick got paid, end of his era now.
Fire the walrus
I’ve been an Eagles fan my entire life, and I get tired of the same old Reid. Poor clock management, horrific press conferences with the media post-game, praising and supporting players whom coaches of a past era would never have the time for, being complacent with average play, miscalculation of players’ skills on draft day leading to wasted picks, and an overall complacency with a winning percentage and post season humdrum success with no Super Bowl victory to show for it. The fans reach a point where the playoff wins are meaningless unless the team is committed to win a Super Bowl with the right coach in place. I don’t profess to be an NFL expert, but by and large the team is stuck with Andy due to the fact that his contract has two remaining seasons on it and that there aren’t that many great coaches available on the market today. I don’t think there’s a whole lot of mentoring going on in the coaching world today, and the play of some of the teams in the league shows it. Of all the coaches in the league, only six really count-McCarthy, Belichik, Payton, Tomlin, and the Harbaughs. I can’t count Reid in this clique because four of the six have won Super Bowls, and two are on the verge of winning one. So for the next two years, die hard Eagles fans are stuck listening and watching a coach who is satisfied with lost effort. I appreciate the fact that Jeffrey Lurie has taken the franchise from lackluster to marketable with a number of different marketing techniques, but the fans are tired of the coach who thinks he can outsmart every other coach on game day.