When Andy Reid was hired, he was a nobody in the grand scheme of things throughout the NFL.That hiring sent shockwaves through the city of Philadelphia. ‘Who is this guy', Philadelphians wondered. The questions continued to be tossed around and a feeling of uncertainty settled in amongst the Eagles faithful. Despite not having a franchise quarterback and having a young 1200-yard rusher on the team, many of the Birds fans wanted to see Reid's first draft pick to be the Heisman Trophy winner, running back Ricky Williams from Texas. The quarterback class of '99 was said to be the strongest since the Elway-Marino-Kelly one of 1983. Reid not only helped to mold Brett Favre's career, he also assisted in developing Mark Brunell and several other successful quarterback's during their stints with the Packers. So the writing was on the wall for those to see that he was going to select a quarterback and not Ricky Williams. A local radio station got into the Williams craze and they sent a group up to New York's Madison Square Garden with orders from their ‘leader', WIP 610-AM morning talk show host Angelo Cataldi, to boo any selection not named Ricky Williams.
When Commissioner Paul Tagliabue strode to the podium to announce the Eagles selection, tension was high. What would Reid do? Tim Couch had just been selected first overall by the Cleveland Browns and after Couch there was an uncertainty as to which of the other quarterbacks was a sure-fire selection. As soon as the first syllables of Donovan McNabb's name escaped the commissioner's mouth, the booing from Cataldi's "Dirty Thirty" erupted in MSG. So not only did the Eagles hire an un-experienced head coach, but now their first draft pick was booed like crazy by a group of fans that would forever give the city a black eye.
So here we are, going into the fifth year of Reid's tenure and the Eagles are considered by many to be an elite team. Reid has compiled a regular season record of 39 wins and 25 losses and a playoff record of 4 wins and 3 losses. In the past four years the Eagles have been to the playoffs three times, the NFC Championship game twice and the once questionable selection of McNabb has proved to be somewhat genius. Tim Couch, Daunte Culpepper, Cade McNown and Akili Smith aren't even close to McNabb in terms of talent or determination. Reid has twice won coach of the year honors, in 2000 he was awarded with the Maxwell Football Club's Earl "Greasy" Neale award which signifies the top coach in all of athletics and in 2002 he was voted as the Associated Press's NFL Coach of the Year. But individual accomplishments, while great, do not compare to what the city of Philadelphia really wants. A Super Bowl Championship is what the Eagles faithful around the world desires and Reid had them extremely close the past two years. But being close doesn't count for anything except if you're out in the back-yard tossing horseshoes with a few friends. The question weighing on everyone's mind this year is can Reid lead his troops past the NFC title game and on to Houston?
Publisher's note: Stay tuned tomorrow as we breakdown the things that may isolate Reid from the fanbase, and make a final decision on whether or not Reid is Philly's guy.