Who is the best Eagles coach of all time?
Not even close. Andy Reid.
In ten years, Reid has taken his teams to the conference championship game five times. FIVE TIMES!!!
Therein lies the problem. In those five trips, he managed to take his team beyond the conference title game only once.
Which is why I have to give Dick Vermeil the nod as the better overall coach. Because until Reid wins the Super Bowl, I can't in good conscience make him a better coach overall than Vermeil. Reid is just the better coach of the Eagles. That's the distinction.
The objective in the NFL is to win the Super Bowl. So if Dick Vermeil has one Lombardi Trophy under his belt and Reid doesn't, by definition, that elevates him above Andy Reid.
But if we're are simply comparing them on their Eagles record, Reid has had the better run. Vermeil only went to one NFC Championship game, which his team won convincingly over the Dallas Cowboys. Then, they lost badly to the Oakland Raiders in the Super Bowl two weeks later. Vermeil coached two more seasons before stepping down.
While its clear Reid has been more successful in his tenure with the Eagles, his approval rating hasn't matched his stellar record. A quarter century after he left the team, Vermeil is still a popular figure in Philadelphia. Even Buddy Ryan, who never won a single playoff game in Philly, still casts a large shadow among the fan base.
Vermeil and Ryan are beloved in Philly because they wore their emotions on their sleeves. Vermeil cried at press conferences and Ryan ripped players and even his boss. Ryan is revered for feuding with the Cowboys organization - in a game the Eagles were winning, he instructed QB Randall Cunningham to rise up from a "kneel down" play to throw deep to Mike Quick for a meaningless score; he issued a bounty on a Dallas kicker; and he chided Jimmy Johnson's arrival in NFL coaching from the college ranks with the famous retort, "There ain't no East Carolinas in the NFL."
You're not gonna get that from Andy Reid. He's very corporate. A buttoned down CEO. That doesn't make him a sympathetic figure.
Which is why he'll never get his due in Philly.
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