The League

Zach Leibowitz
Sideline Reporter

Zach Leibowitz

A former sideline reporter for ESPN

The Andy Man Can

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For all of his stubbornness and his refusal to run the football over he years, one should never overlook Andy Reid's significant impact and contributions to the Philadelphia Eagles franchise. Consider he took over an organization that finished 3-13 the previous year. In his first year as coach, the 1999 season, the Eagles went 5-11. The team actually was 3-11 before winning its final two games of the season, including a regular season victory in the team's finale over eventual Super Bowl champion St. Louis.

At the turn of the Century, a more dramatic way of simply saying the next season, the Eagles kicked off the 2000 campaign in Dallas. And kicked it off they did. David Akers started the season with an onside kick in the "Pickle Juice" game catching the Cowboys completely by surprise. That kick, as far as I'm concerned, was the most defining moment in not only Andy Reid's tenure, but in Eagles history. The Birds pummeled Dallas that day and went onto have an 11-win season. It would be the first of five straight playoff seasons. It would lead to multiple NFC Title appearances and the eventual Super Bowl run in 2004.

Andy Reid more recently has been scrutinized heavily by the media and fans, not only for the teams play-calling and inconsistency, but also because of his laconic press conference nature and his children's inability to stay out of trouble. Reid created such lofty expectations so quickly, that the team's failure to win and go deep into the playoffs is deemed a failure.

There's no question Reid's play-calling has in fact been questionable over the years. And his benching of Donovan McNabb earlier this season seemed to mark the moment when the wheels were finally falling off the wagon.

But Reid found a way to turn his time around just in time. Granted that lots of luck was required for the Eagles in this go-around, but winners seem to find that necessary luck when they need to. Andy Reid is a winner as proven by the fact that former assistants John Harbaugh, Brad Childress, Steve Spagnuolo and Ron Rivera all reached the playoffs this season.

At the end of the day, the season, the tenure, the legacy of Andy Reid will always acknowlege the coach's stubbornly pass-happy ways, and perhaps his inability to win the Super Bowl. But overall, Andy Reid wins. In fact, he's headed the greatest era in Philadelphia Eagles history. If I were an Eagles fan, I would sleep very well at night knowing that Reid was my coach. And I can wake up this Sunday knowing that the same Andy Reid-led team that tied Cincinnati is somehow one of eight teams left still standing.

By Zach Leibowitz  |  January 8, 2009; 7:45 AM ET  | Category:  Philadelphia Eagles Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Low Scoring Gets High Marks | Next: The Reid Dogma

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