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Joe Banner’s Life As A Lightning Rod

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By Spike Eskin

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Joe Banner tried not to listen to what the media and fans said about him while he was president of the Philadelphia Eagles, but that doesn’t mean he could avoid hearing it entirely.

“I probably still don’t appreciate how many lightning strikes there were,” Banner told the 94WIP Morning Show when he was asked about being a lightning rod for Eagles fans and media during his tenure.   “Because frankly what you do, just to preserve your own sanity, you try not to hear all of it. But you can’t help but hear what’s going on.” Banner was a guest of Howard Eskin, Rhea Hughes and Al Morganti on Monday morning.

“It’s not a desirable role,” Banner said of playing the role of the bad guy. “But on the other hand, you talk about being misunderstood, and this probably falls into that category. For me, what drove me was us trying to be successful and winning a championship. And if that was sometimes frequently aided by me being a lightning rod, that was just not a difficult choice for me at all,” he said.

Banner could have helped the team by being a lightning rod in a number of ways. With players, it could have helped Andy Reid play the good guy, while Banner played the bad. In the public, it gave fans a face other than the players and the coaches to direct their frustrations.

“You know, I knew, and the people I was working closely with, and the people I cared about know who I am, and know what I do and what I was contributing and what I wasn’t contributing,” Banner said. “What i was doing well and when I was making a mistake. And I was compltelely secure with that aspect of things. But this is not to say … you know you have children who hear things, your wife might not be quite as strong about it as you are, but all of us want people to think positively of us. Some care more about that than others, but nobody’s going to honestly tell you that it’s irrelevant to them.”

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