As expected, the ax fell on Andy Reid this past Monday thus ending his 14-year reign as the Eagles head coach. Since team owner Jeff Lurie has only had to hire two head coaches since buying the team in 1994, he is definitely under the gun to find the right replacement that can finally deliver that elusive Super Bowl title that Reid never could.
The team has already set up interviews with Denver offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, Atlanta defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and Oregon head coach Chip Kelly, so it appears that Lurie is going the route of trying to find the next, great NFL head coach as opposed to chasing down proven entities such as Jon Gruden or Bill Cowher. It remains to be seen if Gruden or Cowher even want to return to the coaching ranks of the NFL after establishing a successful career in broadcasting, but if they do it appears that it will not be in Philadelphia.
This whole process could drag on for quite awhile so the debate over who the Eagles should hire can rage on for now. As for me, I am torn over which direction the team should head in trying to find the best possible candidate. I am not thrilled with the idea of dipping into the college ranks to find a new head coach as for every Jim Harbaugh, there are four or five other busts out there when it comes to a top college coach trying to make the transition to the NFL.
I must admit that Chip Kelly could be an interesting prospect with the wealth of offensive weapons the Eagles currently have. He could be the one coach capable of resurrecting Michael Vick's career but that is a crap shoot at best.
When it comes to hiring a NFL assistant with no prior head coaching experience, the No.1 prerequisite should be a Super Bowl ring in his current or previous role. Reid came to Philadelphia fresh off his experience helping Green Bay win Super Bowl XXXI as an offensive line coach and helped the Packers get back to the title game the following season as the Packers’ quarterback coach. While he could never seal the deal in Philadelphia, he always knew what it took to get there and built his team accordingly based on what he learned from his long-time mentor Mike Holmgren (who happened to get his shot after working for Bill Walsh when the 49ers were winning Super Bowls on a regular basis).
As crazy as it may seem, maybe there is some up and coming assistant lurking in the shadows on Tom Coughlin’s staff in New York or possibly on Green Bay’s or Pittsburgh’s staff from when they won their Super Bowls a few years back. New Orleans won a Super Bowl in 2009 but I would not touch anyone from that staff with a 10-foot pole.
I fully realize that there are many more factors that go into a major decision such as this, but a big part of winning a title is having the confidence along with the knowledge of how to actually get it done. Whether you were or were not a big Andy Reid fan, you do not keep a job in the NFL for that long without doing something right. As I am writing this post it looks like his total time unempolyed as a head coach will end up lasting less than a week as he finalizes a deal to take over the helm at Kansas City.
My only hope is that Lurie thoroughly does his homework so it will be another decade or so before the Eagles have to go through this kind of job search again.