The End of an Era… For Better or Worse

The 2011 NFL Season will mark the end of an era for the Eagles… we just don’t know which one yet.

Either the long, excruciating history of Super Bowl-less Eagles teams finally comes to an end or the Andy Reid-regime crumbles under the weight of expectations(*). That’s it. No ifs, no ands, no buts. Joe Banner has made this perfectly – and encouragingly – clear.

(*)And Andy Reid himself.

The free agent spending spree we just witnessed was The Devil, The Billionaire and Howie’s way of publicly letting Reid know that they will not be bringing him back next season as a lame duck – lame walrus? – coach. Win the Super Bowl, get an extension. Fall short of that goal, you’re gone(**). The reckoning has finally come!

(**)Though don’t put it past those cheap lying “experts of the smokescreen” to give The Walrus another one-year extension if the team made it to, but lost, the NFC Championship Game. And my God have mercy on our souls…

With the Front Office stacking the team with as much talent as its ever had – even more so than the 2004 juggernaut Eagles(***) – the time to win is NOW. Banner even came out and said this nationally on yesterday’s PFT Live (see the link above), profootballtalk.com’s daily show. We’ve heard Banner make bold statements before – you may recall his claim of having “The best roster in the NFL!” in 2009 – but this one rings true.

(***)As good as that team was – and it was without a doubt the best Eagles team since the Reggie/Randall days – the NFL, particularly the NFC and NFC East, was so weak that season that the team’s ability was inflated.

Kevin Kolb is gone. There is no young, up-and-coming Quarterback to buy Reid a few more years – save for the potential of Vince Young, but even he’s on a one-year deal. Vick gives the Eagles the best chance to win now and the best chance to move on if it doesn’t work out. His career trajectory will either peak this season, or it unfortunately peaked last year, but there is no more room for growth. This is it. It’s now Reid’s job to have Vick get the franchise over the hump and win a Super Bowl, or it’s going to be somebody else’s job next year.

This is the ultimate test: a roster with gobs of talent and tons of depth; a premiere Quarterback at the height of his powers; a ridiculously-skilled Offense; a potentially tantalizing Defense. Barring major injuries, this is the strongest, deepest and most potent collection of players Reid has had the pleasure to coach(****). If he can’t make it work, he is the problem. There will be no more scapegoats – no matter how inexperienced the “new” Defensive Coordinator may be. Hell, if Ginger McDermutt had Asomugha, DRC, Babin and Jenkins last season, we’d most likely be cheering him in Lehigh today… maybe even dye our hair red in homage.

(****)Ray Didinger would like to throw water on that statement.

We’re not saying a Super Bowl is a sure thing… far from it. But this IS the last chance Andy Reid will have at winning one with the Eagles. He’s been handed one of the most talented rosters in the NFL, he just has to put them in the right situations.

It all falls on Reid’s wide fluffy shoulders. Banner, Lurie and Howie have made it perfectly clear, not just saying that the team is “all in,” but by actually going out and proving it with their high-profile acquisitions. The window to win is now. Expectations can’t get higher. It’s win or go home for The Walrus.

Either way, it’s the beginning of the end of an era. Super Bowl or Bust. Lombardi or Walrus.

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