Friday, November 24, 2006

Andy's replacement?

By John McMullen

We have talked about it before.

Andy Reid should have built up some good will by taking the Philadelphia Eagles, a team not exactly steeped in winning tradition before Big Red arrived, to four straight NFC Championship Games.

But Reid is so aloof, when the inevitable fall from grace began -- his detractors were champing at the bit for his head.

I have a tough time feeling sorry for Andy -- After all, he has no one to blame but himself for his detached, conceited behavior.

That said, as much as I dislike Reid's overbearing personality, I still recognize he is a pretty good, football coach and some of the names Reid's detractors have dropped to replace him are absurd.

At the top of that list is former Eagles offensive coordinator and current Tampa Bay coach -- Jon Gruden.

Now I realize that a Super Bowl ring masks many blemishes and Gruden can flash one --
But come on!

Did anyone look up from the dinner table on Thanksgiving to see what Gruden has unleashed in Central Florida? Category 5 hurricanes aren't that destructive.

He has shattered a proud team than Tony Dungy built in record time with something Reid knows a lot about -- ego.

The problem for Gruden is simple.....NFL games are not contested on an even playing field and the most valuable commodity in this league is talent, not coaching.

The same drive, ambition and obsession that garnered Gruden a ring was his downfall in Tampa. Gruden may have been the perfect one-year coach for a veteran team with enough talent to get to the big game.

Long term has been a different story and Gruden's ego has been the deciding factor. Labeled as an offensive "genius" by uneducated NFL observers, Gruden’s Super Bowl team won with anything but.

The defense, fashioned by the departed Dungy and defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, along with the virtually mistake free play of quarterback Brad Johnson were the reasons Tampa was a champion.

Gruden’s ego would not allow him to ride that out, however, and his willingness to overhaul an average offense and in turn, let defensive leaders like Warren Sapp and John Lynch walk was a miscalculation to say the least.

When all is said and done in the Tampa "Chucky" era, it’s conceivable -- but doubtful -- Tampa will be a better offensive team.

What is certain is that the Bucs will be nowhere near the Super Bowl.

Gruden should have learned from another offensive "genius" with a ring, Baltimore’s Brian Billick. Billick led the Ravens to a Super Bowl victory on the backs of one of the generation’s best defenses and the mistake free play of quarterback Trent Dilfer.

Instead of riding that formula for another season, Billick, the architect ofMinnesota’s record setting 1998 offense, wanted a better pure passer and signed Elvis Grbac. While the Ravens’ offense perked up, they weren't the same team. The quiet steadiness and reliability of Dilfer was missed greatly and Baltimore took a huge step back.

As "leaders of men", football coaches often loved to be compared to famous military figures.
Well.... there is a famous saying among military planners: "Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

Let's just hope the brain wizards with the Eagles are studying their history.


Anonymous said...

Very good idea.

Anonymous said...

Gruden would be an upgrade over Reid.

Anonymous said...

Gruden has done a terrible job in Tampa.

Anonymous said...

I think you rip Reid far too much. He might be stubborn, but he doesn't have an ego. What head coach isn't stubborn?

I do like your idea of Gruden though.

Anonymous said...

Reid doesn't have an ego?