Andy Reid isn't going anywhere.
"There's no doubt in my mind that if our focus is on trying to win a championship next year, the best coach for that is Andy."
Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie made that statement at a rare post-season press conference Tuesday afternoon.
Leading up to headline-grabbing 2:30 presser, speculation was that Lurie could make an announcement about major changes to his organization's leadership -- possibly the coaching position. But after giving the pros and cons of change, Lurie told the world that Reid would be back for his 14th season leading the Eagles.
But that doesn't mean it was an easy choice.
"Dismal," "unfathomable," "ludicrous," "terrible" and "extremely disappointing" were the terms Lurie used to describe the Eagles' 8-8 season.
"This season was without question the most disappointing season since I’ve owned the team," Lurie said. "You’re only human and you go through all the range of emotions during the season, but the primary emotions I think are anger and frustration."
But Lurie feels that Reid -- who has led the Birds to nine playoff appearances, six NFC East crowns, five conference championship games and a Super Bowl loss -- still has the "fire in his belly" to win and skills win a championship in Philly, Lurie said.
"He has all the ingredients to take the team to the playoffs and take them far," Lurie said.
"You've gotta be in the tournament to be able to win a Super Bowl. That's the singular goal, but it's hard enough to get into the playoffs and this coach and his staff have a superb track record of getting to the tournament."
The owner also backed team president Joe Banner and general manager Howie Roseman to return next season. But left coaching decisions like if defensive coordinator Juan Castillo would return in the hands of Reid.
As for what Big Red brings to the table...
"...To describe it as arrogant is completely wrong; it’s protective and there’s a difference how you interpret protectiveness. You can convert it to arrogance if you misjudge it. There’s no arrogance in this man. One of the analysis I do when I meet with Andy for multiple times in the last month and I do it every year is how humble he is and how self-critical he is and that goes into my analysis. So you’re dealing with a completely non-arrogant man who blames himself for a lot of the troubles with the team but at the same time can openly talk to me about each player and each strengths and weaknesses that you can’t talk to the press about. So that’s what our experience is. And I sometimes do feel bad as an organization that that gets presented in a way that never would be interpreted as arrogant because I don’t think you’re ever going to meet a head coach who’s any less arrogant than Andy Reid."
And that perceived arrogance can sometimes rub fans the wrong way, the owner said. As do his terse media sessions, where he basically says the same thing again and again as a way to protect his players.
"You’re a football team that has lots of incredible fans, passionate fan base and I think you do factor that in, that there’s sometimes disenchantment with a coach over a long period of time. I think you factor it in, but you have to put it in the right perspective," Lurie said.
But even though Reid might rub the fans the wrong way he is beloved by his players, Lurie said.
Though many fans are angered with the decision to bring back Reid after the “Dream Team” season turned into a nightmare with each fourth-quarter collapse, defensive breakdown and Michael Vick injury, the decision to bring back Reid for one more season was the right one despite a 4-8 start.
"If you wanted Andy Reid gone, you're an idiot," tweeted Eagles guard Evan Mathis much to the ire of Eagles fans.
(Mathis is one of the players who earlier in the season asked fans holding a Fire Andy sign outside of the team's practice facility to take the sign down.)
This writer wouldn't go as far as Mathis did but I do agree that fans are overzealous in calling for Andy's head on a stick.
In this writer’s opinion, Reid has earned the right to be given one more shot to guide the Eagles to the Lombardi Trophy largely because he has basically owned his division for the past decade -- even going 5-1 within the NFC East this season. If Reid was let go it wouldn't be surprising to see the Giants, Redskins or Cowboys can their coaches to hire Reid instead. That way he wouldn't keep beating them.
Also, in rough economic times like this it’s just flat out wrong to wish for someone who is doing an average job be fired. It’s short-sighted and in my opinion self-centered to believe one man should lose his job because he did OK and OK is 8-8. Remember, more teams don’t make the playoffs (20) than make the playoffs (12) in the NFL.
Also, like Lurie pointed out, Reid has a history of success. Most businesses would love more up years (nine) than down (two) with a couple even years mixed in along the way.
Yes, Reid hasn’t won a Super Bowl in 13 seasons at the helm, but neither did Bill Cowher in his first 13 seasons in Pittsburgh. Instead Cowher -- a guy Eagles fans would likely love to see coach the Birds -- suffered through three losing seasons, made five conference championship games and lost a Super Bowl. He was basically identical to Reid for his first 13 years as a head coach.
Then in season 14 it all came together for Cowher's Steelers. Maybe the same thing will happen for Reid. With Big Red coming back that’s what Eagles fans can hope for moving forward.
Time’s yours in the comments.