by Marc Farzetta
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – There is no debating who the most successful Eagles coach is of the Super Bowl era. The numbers are overwhelmingly in favor of Andy Reid. Most games coached, most wins, most playoff wins, most division titles and he even coached the Eagles to as many Super Bowls as anyone else; one. But does winning alone make you loved?
When Andy Reid takes the field in that red windbreaker Thursday night, he will do so amidst a roar of cheers from Eagles fans. The cheers will be of appreciation and respect for their former head coach, but not love.
I recently posted the following question on social media: “Would you say that you ‘love’ Andy Reid as you might say you love Buddy or Vermeil?” Here are a few of the top responses…
Anthony S: Friendly with Reid, like Vermeil, love Buddy!
Darryll P: C’mon Marc. Not a chance. Andy was so standoffish and arrogant, and he demonstrated that directly to the fans through his contempt for our proxy, the media.
Ryan S: I love Andy as much as I loved Bobby Hoying and Irving Fryar
Sammy C: Everyone might love their wife at first.. But if the marriage is rocky and ruined by a degenerate desire to pass the ball and waste time outs and prove how smart you are.. It ends in an ugly divorce. Then your really dislike that person. There is zero love for him
Ken L: The Answer is NO. Not because I don’t appreciate the success of the team during the first decade, but because in certain games and situations he was incredibly frustrating, and his lack of any personality in press conferences and through the media made him unlike able. I have come to learn what a GREAT man he was, and how much fun he was in person. Andy however, never ingratiated himself on a larger scale with the fan base.
John K: HELLLLLLL NOOOOOOO!!!!!! (That’s 7 “L’s” and 7 “O’s”)
Brandon S: Andy was easy to despise [because] it was like being married to someone who would never change. He would never commit to running the football and was horrible with clock management. He was bailed out by Jim Johnson for the majority of his tenure and should have been fired 3 years ago!
Bobby M: No, because of his personality and how he came across to the public. I love what the team was under the majority of his time here but his lack of emotion will always keep him out of our hearts.
Erik P: No, refusal to run .. Inability to make adjustments….and those annoying press conferences..will always prevent me from loving him(and those crazy draft pic “projects” every year)
Howie J: I love Lamp (ok I just thought this one was funny)
Aside from comparing Reid to coaches of Eagles past, you could also make a strong argument that “Big Red” wasn’t even the most loved coach during his own tenure in Philadelphia. Defensive coordinator, Jim Johnson would probably beat Reid out in a competition for adoration. After all, in their 10 seasons together, Johnson’s defense out ranked Reid’s offense eight out of ten years. So the ‘D’ was clearly better than the ‘O’.
Some people responded to the question, but didn’t really answer it, said they didn’t understand the love affair with Buddy and that in itself is understandable. People that weren’t around for “Buddy Ball” don’t see how a town can love a coach with an 0-3 playoff record. Some might say, “Oh, but he always beat the Cowboys” or “His attitude matched this city.” As far as the Cowboys, no one beat the ‘boys as much as Reid. Andy beat Dallas 17 times with the Eagles to Buddy’s eight victories. Attitude though? No question, that was Buddy’s charm and Reid weak point.
Attitude was the single biggest problem with Reid, and it’s the reason why he is not adored. The arrogance dilutes the number of wins. It was that attitude that tried to sell fans on the idea that Greg Lewis would be a fine kick returner. Or Mark Simoneau would make good replacement for Shawn Barber. Or that the Eagles didn’t need that #1 wide receiver. Or that their offensive line coach will make a good defensive coordinator. All these arrogant failures were protested by fans not in hindsight, but as they were happening. The mentality of “my square peg will fit any round hole” mixed with every season ending with a disappointment, causes the love to evade Reid.
Then there were the press conferences. Look, I’ve been to a lot of press conferences, with coaches all over the NFL. They are pretty much all the same. They don’t give much. They take most of the blame and they back their players. However, not all take a smug approach to it. Reid never understood that the reporters were asking questions that the fans wanted answered and when he answered in a smug fashion, fans took offense. A fault of Reid’s that if he was aware of, he would take full responsibility for after, of course going back to look at the tape.
There are fans that manage to ignore the attitude, the poor decisions and lack of personality and simply focus on the man that coached the Eagles through their most successful time during the Super Bowl era. But even those fans seem to dismiss the idea of holding Reid in a “loveable” position. Respected, yes, but not loved.
Follow Marc Farzetta on twitter @MarcFarzetta