Stephen Lewis' "Ruffled Feathers "

Andy's Chamber

Sundays overtime loss to the New York Giants seemed to be one of the most shocking and disappointing losses since Andy Reid took over as head coach in 1999. However, this was not the first time a collapse like this has taken place in a game that the Eagles completely dominated. What seemed to be an improbable loss is actually part of an ongoing trend. In fact, this was the fifth time in Reid's tenure that the Birds lost a game after taking a double-digit lead into the fourth quarter. After witnessing this for the fifth time Sunday, I decided to come up with a name for games in which an Andy Reid team calls it quits before the clock runs out.

For inspiration of this name, I decided turn to a popular 1990's television show, Family Matters. During one season on the show, Steve Urkel invents a machine that turns him from a geek, to a suave chick magnet. He names this alter ego of himself Stefan Urquelle. For many first halves of games, Andy handles game like Stefan Urquelle would handle a date. His team looks incredibly smooth and can win at ease. However, many of these games where Andy is using Stefan's “game,” he gets arrogant. He decides to get rid of his confident and precise play calling, and figures he could make things more interesting by finishing the game with his not so cool alter ego. This is the equivalent of Steve Urkel going on a date as Stefan, and then deciding at the middle of the date, it was going so well he may as well jump back into the chamber and finishes the date as Steve. This plan backfires and Steve completely ruins the date with a classic “Did I Do That?” moment and the pretty girl goes home, humiliated. This is what Andy Reid does. He jumps in Steve Urkel's chamber, and goes from handling the game smoothly, to overconfidently watching a lead turn into a deficit.

You can go back to as far as Andy Reid's first game with the Eagles, to seeing the first evidence of “The Chamber.” In this season opener, Doug Peterson had the Eagles rolling over the Arizona Cardinals with a twenty one-point lead in the first quarter. The Eagles would go on to lose this game however, letting up thirteen points in the fourth quarter, and losing the game 25-24. An avoidable loss if Andy Reid could have kept his teams momentum going from start to finish.

Reid would jump in “The Chamber” again later in the same season. Week eight spelled a match up against the division rival Giants. Once again the Eagles dominated the first half, once again the Eagles packed it in for the second. A 17-3 lead after thirty minutes was demolished in the fourth quarter as the Giants scored fourteen points, and then ended the game with a pick six from Michael Strahan.

It would be the next season opener when we saw The Chamber dusted off for another spin. This time, the Eagles would punish Tennessee in the first half, leading 24-10. After a halftime trip to “The Chamber,” the Eagles managed to let the Titans score 17 unanswered points, and lose the game 27-24.

In 2004 after the Eagles won their first NFC title in 24 years, we thought that Andy might thrown the Chamber in the Delaware River. We were wrong.

A Monday Night match up against the Cowboys would be the first appearance by The Chamber in nearly three years. In a season where nothing was going right, the Eagles finally looked like they could keep their playoff hopes alive in a season where nothing seemed to go right. With a 20-7 lead in the fourth quarter, the Eagles had just about taken the life out of Dallas. But “The Chamber” would make its improbable comeback, and escort Roy Williams to the end zone, giving the Cowboys a 21-20 victory.

Hopefully this is the last time we witness a “Chamber Game” during the Reid-McNabb era. If we unfortunately see the Chamber again, Reid should be forced to enter the post game press conference wearing suspenders and thick glasses. He'll take the microphone and open things up by saying, “Did I do that?”


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© Copyright 2006. Jules Pilla

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