(Note by Jimmy) – This is a guest piece by my boy Eric from the great Philadelphia Flyers blog Broad Street Hockey, but he is also wise in the ways of football.
There has obviously been a lot of talk lately about needing change in the Eagles leadership — six of the first ten links in a Google search for Andy Reid are about fans’ desire to see him go. Some have further suggested that the entire roster needs to be blown up.
I’m starting to think Eagles fans have been spoiled by success.
Andy Reid is in his 13th year, and over that span the team is 122-79-1 with 9 playoff appearances. I’m not saying that’s the best possible result; I certainly wish they had mixed a Super Bowl win or two in there somewhere, and it’s definitely true that the team was better over the first half of that span than over the second half.
But even over the last 5.5 years, the Eagles are 52-38 with four playoff appearances. When that’s their down period, I think you have to say the team is doing something right.
So here’s how I’d like to frame the question: how many organizations would you trade for right now?
I don’t think any rational Eagles fan would swap places with the Bills, Dolphins, Bengals, Browns, Texans, Titans, Jaguars, Raiders, Broncos, Chiefs, Redskins, Lions, Vikings, Bucs, Panthers, Seahawks, Cardinals, or Rams.
That’s more than half the league right there that is unequivocally worse off than the Eagles. If you think the Eagles need to blow things up, would you expect half the league to do the same?
Here are some more teams I wouldn’t take over the Eagles:
- The 49ers’ 9-2 record is nice…and it’s their first 9-win season since 2002. I’m not trading a decade of success for that yet.
- The Falcons have made the playoffs in just two of the last five years and came away without a single win both times.
- The Bears also have just two playoff appearances and rely heavily on a core (Urlacher, Peppers, Briggs, and Tillman) that’s all over 30.
- I like the Chargers, but it’s hard to see where they have an edge on the Eagles: they have the same number of playoff appearances over the last 5+ years, the same number of playoff wins, missed the playoffs last year, and are 4-7 this year. At best this is a lateral move, and I think Reid’s first six years give him a clear edge.
That puts the Eagles in the top ten, at worst.
- The Cowboys have a similar recent record (over the last 5+ years, they have one more win, one fewer playoff appearance, and two fewer playoff wins). Their organization has achieved more success, but that success is farther in the past. This one will come down to whether you love or hate having an owner like Jerry Jones.
- The Jets haven’t done as well in the regular season, but they’ve been to two straight conference championship games. Are you ready to roll with Mark Sanchez?
That leaves the teams that have won the last five Super Bowls (Packers, Saints, Steelers, Giants, and Colts), plus the Patriots and Ravens. I don’t think all of those are clear upgrades — I’d certainly be nervous about the future as a Colts fan right now — but I think most people would end up putting the Eagles somewhere in the 5-10 range.
This brings me back to the claim that Eagles fans are spoiled by success. They have a franchise that’s clearly in the top ten and arguably in the top five, and the fans are unhappy about it. If this organization needs to be blown up, then so does almost every team in the league.
Yes, this year has been frustrating for Eagles fans. There is no question that some small moves need to be made. But there’s no reason to think that dramatic change would improve things; there aren’t a lot of unemployed guys who would immediately elevate a franchise to top-5 status.
Remember that in 2008 the Packers were 6-10 and the Saints were suffering their second straight losing season. Sometimes staying the course with a good organization is the best way to turn things around.