About Barnwell’s Defense Of The Walrus

As we pointed out earlier today, our go-to football scribe at Grantland.com, Bill Barnwell, unleashed a piece today that made everyone in Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley choke on the vomit that involuntarily filled their mouths.

Barnwell’s “In Defense of Andy Reid” is the first in what will certainly become a deluge of national Reid-love/Philly-hate once The Walrus is finally gone from our good graces. And in all honesty… It pisses us off.

This is the same shit we had to go through in the final years of the Dramavan McNabb saga. The national media paints us as ungrateful; an entire city of fans who don’t know how good we have it. But the fact is, they’re wrong.

We remember, in horribly vivid detail, just how terrible the years were as Eagles fans prior to McNabb and Reid coming to Philadelphia in 1999. We KNOW how good McNabb was – regardless of that fiefdom of Eagles fans who never believed in 5 – and we absolutely know Andy’s standing in the annals of Eagle coaches.

For all the crap we talk on Andy, we certainly spend a lot of time on here pointing out his good traits – his ability to coach up Quarterbacks, the fact that he positively changed the culture of the franchise (for a time), his winning record and playoff success. So it truly irks us when people who don’t live in the area sit there and tell us that we’re too quick to pass judgement and only focus on the negative; that we don’t know what we’ve got and will be sorry when the next coach isn’t as successful.

The thing about that is… WE DON’T CARE! We know that the next coach isn’t as likely to go to the playoffs 9 out of 14 years. We know that Andy will inevitably win somewhere else. We don’t discredit anything Andy has done for the Eagles, and all of the wins he’s amassed(*). The national media completely misses the point: we NEED a change. This thing has run its course and then some. We just want to see something different. Besides… It can’t get much worse than it is now.

(*)Regardless if Jim Johnson was really the one responsible for the team’s success.

There’s a reason “Fire The Walrus” didn’t exist before 2009. It wasn’t necessary before then. We DID know how lucky we were to have Andy… But that time has come and gone. What Barnwell – who we do truly respect and enjoy – and the rest of the national media doesn’t seem to get, is that only one other coach in NFL history spent 14 years with a team and didn’t win a Super Bowl until his 14th season: Bill Cowher. And even Steelers fans(**) lost patience with The Chin.

(**)Who, Buddy forbid, couldn’t be more beloved by the national media. Because, you know, Pittsburgh fans didn’t boo Santa Claus 50-some years ago…

History tells us that Reid won’t win here moving forward, and Barnwell brings up the main reason why:

Fourteen years is a long time in the NFL. It’s enough to draft and develop a whole generation of talent, see them age, and then be forced to replace them with a second generation of talent, players who Reid drafted to replace guys he had drafted toward the beginning of his run who had either left in free agency or become too old to start. That takes a lot of skill and a lot of trust in your development process, a level of faith the Eagles deserved.

The problem is, he hasn’t done a good job of drafting the second, now-going-on-third generation of players to maintain that success. Reid’s drafts have been anything but successful, particularly on Defense. Nick Foles, Bryce Brown and Fletcher Cox may turn into good players, but they’re not Pro Bowl-caliber players and may never be. He hasn’t picked an impact player in the first round since, well, McNabb(***). Maclin’s a nice player, but doesn’t even compare to the number one wideouts in the league.

(***)Unless you count Corey Simon’s rookie season.

Barnwell’s right about a lot of things… Andy’s legacy should be remembered for more good than bad, and we may overlook some of the things that defined Reid’s tenure in the first eight years. But he’s especially correct when he says fourteen years is a long time in the NFL. And he makes the most important point of all here:

…Reid has a 130-91-2 record as head coach of the Eagles, producing a .588 winning percentage that ranks sixth in the league across that time frame. The five teams ahead of him are your standard-issue best teams in football: the Patriots (a league-best .710), Colts (.674), Steelers (.636), Packers (.620), and Ravens (.602). Reid’s Eagles sit well ahead of the seventh-place Titans, who are packed tightly in a group with the Giants and Broncos. Cynics will correctly note that the five teams ahead of the Eagles have each won the Super Bowl (and have combined to win eight of the 14 Super Bowls over that time frame)…

For all of the good qualities we should adore Reid for, he still lacks the most important quality of all: a Lombardi Trophy.

Was Andy’s tenure in Philadelphia a success? Yes and no.

We just wish national writers would stop confusing our passion with ungratefulness.

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