Ruffled Feathers
By Stephen Lewis

July 21, 2008

Gadget Plays, Throat Clearings and High Pass to Run Ratios: Ten Years of Andy Reid.

This coming season marks the 10 th year of the Andy Reid era in Philadelphia . With a 92-60 (including playoffs) record as a head coach, Reid is the winningest coach in Eagles history. I picked these games that I felt best displayed the accomplishments and character of the Reid era.

•  The Kansas City Comeback

Oct 2, 2005 : Eagles 37 Chiefs 31

Week 4 of the 2005 season, the Birds face a Kansas City team with a running game as good as it gets. The KC offense looked to make it a long afternoon for the Birds, taking an early 17-0 advantage. In a season where the Eagles had obvious character issues, Reid rallied the team to a 37-31 victory, one of the biggest Eagle comebacks in years. More impressively, the win took place in perhaps the toughest venue to play in for visiting teams. In a season that was doomed from the start, the win gave us fans some hope… well at the very least one memorable performance in a very unmemorable season.

•  “We beat them backwards!”

Sept 3, 2000 : Eagles 41 Cowboys 14

If there is a way to make a good impression on the fans, it is by beating Dallas . In Reid's time with the Eagles, he has beaten the villains in blue 13 times, finally giving some validity to the statement “Dallas Sucks”. It was the first game of the 2000 season that would show just how much the Birds would dominate Dallas over the next six years. The most interesting part of this game was the way it started, an onside kick. What an ingenious way to start a game. Attempt a play that would never be expected until at least the fourth quarter. A 200 yard rushing performance by a pickle juice powered Duce Staley and the Eagles had themselves as 41-14 romping. I'll never forget watching the 4 th quarter of this game, and a friend of mine looked at the score and said “we're beating them backwards.” Reid would attempt the surprise onside kick several more times over the next 8 seasons, some more successful then others, but none more memorable then this one.

•  McNabb Comes Home, Birds Get over the Hump

Jan 19, 2002 : Eagles 33 Bears 19

It had taken over 20 years to get the Birds back to the conference championship game. Three other coaches before Reid had tried to get the Birds back to this point; all were unsuccessful, losing in road divisional playoff games. It was also the first game back in the windy city for hometown kid Donovan McNabb. The Bears were a surprise 13-3 team, which many of us felt were overachieving behind QB Jim Miller, who was knocked on a controversial play involving Hugh Douglas. Miller would be replaced by Shane Mathews who was equally unsuccessful against a stingy Eagles' D. It was the third playoff win in just 3 seasons for Reid. In three seasons, Reid now had more wins in the postseason then Buddy, Kotite and Rhodes.

•  Fourth times a charm, Eagles Capture NFC title

Jan 23, 2005 : Eagles 27 Falcons 10

If you were an Eagles fan under the age of 25, it was the win you had seriously waited your whole life for. The three failed attempts beforehand were as painful as it gets. There is no question about that, but January 23, 2005 was the greatest day of my life as an Eagle fan.

•  Spurrier's Monday Night Nightmare

Sept 16, 2002 : Eagles 37 Redskins 7

It was a game following a chamber game. A week after the Eagles blew a big lead in Tennessee , they traveled to Fed Ex Field to take on the much talked about and much hyped, new look Redskins. The Skins featured a new coach who looked to showcase his new offense against an Eagles defense that struggled the previous week. Unfortunately for Spurrier, his “fun and gun” offense had very little fun at all. Then again, it's hard to have a fun offense with Shane Mathews ( how many more times is this guy going to be mentioned?!?!?) as your gun. The win set the tone for a great 2002 campaign for the Eagles, which would result in Reid capturing AP coach of the year honors.

•  Beating the Streak in New York

Oct 22, 2001 Eagles 10 Giants 9

It was 12/1/1996 when the Eagles had last beaten the New York Giants. Since then, the Giants had put together nine consecutive wins against the Birds, including 3 the previous season. It was a big test for Reid's team, who had underachieved early on in the season. The streak was a dark cloud for the organization and this was a great time to overcome and take over the NFC East. The Eagles offense struggled to get going in the game, trailing the G-men after three quarters. Then late in the 4 th , down 9-3, Donovan McNabb found James Thrash in the side of the end zone to give the Birds a 10-9 victory. The “big blue” empire had been dethroned and the streak had become a thing of the past. Eagles would beat the Giants again in their final home game of 2001, and Reid would clinch his first of 5 NFC east titles, and the team's first since 1988.

•  Koy's Monday Night Magic

Nov 25, 2002 : Eagles 38 49ers 17

After Donovan McNabb's regular season ending injury, it had seemed that the fate of our season had already been decided. A season with so much promise looked to be heading into a downward spiral due to the knee of our Pro Bowl quarterback. In came career back up Koy Detmer, who put together the game of his life. Reid put together an excellent game plan for his spare tire QB and completely surprised a much favored 49ers team. It was the defining moment of an incredible ride in 2002. Just one week after it looked like our season was inevitably over, Reid gave us some hope and little did we know, the McNabb injury would not set us back much at all.

8) Breaking Records and Breaking the Packers

Dec 5, 2004 : Eagles 47 Packers 17

2004 was a magical year for Reid and the Eagles, and this was the one game that really defined that season. It was the one game that season when we realized just how good this team was that season and just how potent the offense was. The Eagles exploded to an early 35-0 lead like it was nothing, scoring touchdowns at ease on four consecutive drives. Player performances were a key part of this one. Terrell Owens set a team record with his 14 th TD reception of the season and Donovan set the team record for passing yard in a game that late afternoon with 464 in the air. Most importantly, Andy Reid won his 67 th regular season game, become the Eagles all time winningest coach.

•  Ending the Road Woes in Chicago

Oct 17, 1999 : Eagles 20 Bears 16

The team that Reid took over in 1999 didn't quite have the Superbowl aspirations that the 2004 squad had. Their aspirations were more to avoid embarrassment and becoming the punch line of jokes with their road record. On December 14, 1996 , the Eagles defeated the NY Jets 21-20. It would take 19 attempts and almost three years to win their next road game. To give you an idea of how long this is, the WWE world championship changed hands 21 times during this period. It wasn't a huge win for the organization, but it was the first step Reid needed to take in his path to success. It was an embarrassing streak that finally came to an end on this October afternoon. The road would turn out to be a friendly place for Reid from 2000-2004, when he posted an incredible 30-10 record outside of Philadelphia .

•  Ruining TO's return to Philadelphia

Oct 8, 2006 : Eagles 38 Cowboys 24

His conduct detrimental to the team was the driving cause of the demise of the Birds during their NFC title defense in 2005. It was a great revenge scenario for the Birds and another important win for Reid, who was able to show that his offense (406 total yards and 38 points) could be just as prolific as they were with the troublesome Owens. Eagle fans will never forget TO running off the field as humiliated as can be when time expired. The win itself was what was really impressive, as innovative play calling by Reid would out muscle the Cowboys. Most importantly, it showed the fans the team was not the joke that they became the previous season. They still had it in them to accomplish what they were able to in years past. Several weeks later, the Birds would take out the Cowboys on Christmas day as Reid would capture his 5 th NFC East crown.



© Copyright 2006. Jules Pilla

Not affiliated with the Philadelphiqa Eagles or the NFL.