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Life For The Eagles After Andy Reid

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Can Chip Kelly successfully lead the Eagles into a new era? Photo by Hunter Martin/Philadelphia Eagles/Getty Images.
Can Chip Kelly successfully lead the Eagles into a new era? Photo by Hunter Martin/Philadelphia Eagles/Getty Images.

14 years is a long time. For a head coach on one team in today’s NFL, it’s an eternity. Owners have grown impatient and vulnerable to the general public's influence. As a result, head coaches have less job security than a temporary poll worker. Andy Reid, on the other hand, proved otherwise during his reign over the Philadelphia Eagles from 1999-2012.

For 14 years, Reid’s leadership was hardly questioned, but his coaching prowess was often criticized by an intolerant fan base desperately wanting a parade down Broad Street. Reid not only served as the team’s head coach all this time, but he also served as the team’s executive vice president of football operations from 2001 through 2012.

Reid’s multiple titles gave him carte blanche; he practically answered to no one.

But Reid’s tenure didn’t happen by chance. The guy was successful. He consistently churned out a highly competitive product, but could never get that elusive Super Bowl ring. He came dangerously close in 2004, but fell prey to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Since then, the Eagles have failed to return to the Super Bowl.

Reid was a solid coach, but will forever be remembered as mediocre. In wins, he was stoic and unemotional; in losses, he gave less to the media than Bill Belicheck. His predictability in the press conference began to spill over to the field. Reid was methodical early in games, but once opposing coaches adjusted, he would abandon the run. Not a bad strategy if you have Drew Brees behind center, but not with Donovan McNabb.

Reid was inevitably fired after the 2012 season. And so begins a new era under Chip Kelly: an enigmatic, yet charismatic, coaching goliath. Kelly is a legend in the college ranks, but completely unproven in the professional ranks. He is an offensive juggernaut, but how will his schematics fare in the NFL? No one knows a thing about this team.

Even with all the hype, they define uncertainty.

After two straight campaigns of not even sniffing the playoffs, the Eagles find themselves on the bottom of the NFC East. Once unfamiliar territory for the Eagles, they’ve struggled to stay competitive. Typically, one seeks a proven anecdote to cure what ails them. In hiring Kelly, the Eagles did the opposite. He will either achieve something special in Philly or quickly be outed as a gimmicky college coach.

Kelly’s already created a stir with the quarterback situation — something we certainly would not have seen under Reid. Is it for the better? It’s too early to tell. Overall, Kelly has been well received by Eagles fans, but mainly because he hasn’t lost yet. He was used to winning at Oregon, but even in defeat there, Kelly was never in danger of losing his job. In the NFL, that danger is always present.

Kelly does not appear to be rattled thus far. He represents change for an organization that so desperately needed it. It’s not easy replacing someone who has held a post for well over a decade. His predecessor knew a thing or two about winning in the NFL. Will he?