When reviewing the history of the era that’s been led by Head Coach Andy Reid and star Quarterback Donovan McNabb, the Philadelphia Eagles have various different ways to remember it. There has been the success of 5 NFC Championship game appearances since McNabb was drafted in the 1999 NFL Draft, and a Super Bowl 39 appearance. And then the disappointments, like a 1-3 NFC Championship game record in those appearances and the loss in Super Bowl 39, to go along with McNabb’s sensitivity and hot and cold relationship with the city of Philadelphia as a whole.
Donovan McNabb is a very fine quarterback who was a big hit at first in the city of Philadelphia. He was recognized most for his ability to scramble and make plays with his feet; just as he could with his strong arm. Over the years Donovan has put up some nice statistical stat lines, but the quick rush to anoint him a Hall of Famer is something I am not willing to approve of. This is not a knock on McNabb, as to be a Hall of Famer in my book takes a career of excellence and prolific performances. Donovan has established himself as a top7 quarterback year in and year out in his career, but he has never been that premier quarterback in his time in the league. But his team results have been consistent and impressive in his tenure with Philly. He has led the Eagles to the playoffs six times, but at the same time he will be remembered for breaking down on the final drive in his lone Super Bowl appearance.
Andy Reid is an excellent head coach that has proven himself to be one of the best in the league. Reid has developed the Philadelphia Eagles to be one of the most consistent teams in the NFL in the current decade. As coach Andy Reid has compiled a winning percentage of just under .610%, which is good enough for 2nd amongst active coaches in the NFL who have coached at least 100 games. But his job security has come into question for one of the first times this regular season, and the pressure is on this postseason. The Reid-McNabb duo have combined for the fifth most regular season wins (128) without winning a Super Bowl in NFL History, but they are in good company with duos like Shula/Marino (184), Levy/Kelly (151), Reeves/Elway (142), and Fischer/McNair (131).
In my opinion, the Philadelphia Eagles have gone as far as their defense can take them during this era. Jim Johnson is the coordinator who is most responsible for all the Philadelphia defense’s success. Johnson has done a lot of work in making the McNabb-Reid duo so successful. In 7 of the last 9 seasons Johnson has had the Eagles defense ranked in the top 9 in points allowed, and five times in the top 5. In the two years they didn’t crack that top 9 level, McNabb’s combined record was 9-10. And there is proof of other quarterback success with these Eagles teams. In 2002, Philly was able to finish the regular season 5-1 with a quarterback combination of Koy Detmer and AJ Feeley for yet another NFC East crown and McNabb took back over in the postseason where he lost at home to the underdog Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In 2006 after McNabb went down with a season ending injury backup Jeff Garcia was able to come in and win the final 5 regular season games to lead the Eagles to an NFC East title and a wildcard round victory over the New York Giants.
No matter if you look at this from the positive or negative viewpoint the results in the next couple weeks will solidify this duo and regime as a success or a failure. The results are most likely to also decide some big front office decisions the Eagles are likely to make. Personally I wouldn’t be surprised that even if Philly won Super Bowl 43, McNabb might choose to take his career elsewhere in his search for comfort and happiness. As a loss against Arizona on this afternoon could see him forced out of the City of Brotherly Love.
If having to choose one to stay from this consistent productive duo, I would have to side with keeping coach Andy Reid over quarterback Donovan McNabb. Reid would be the better investment, as McNabb is ageing and has been known to have his injuries and insecurities with the public. Reid’s strategies, coaching staff and style of play has proven to be very successful, and even if it takes a year or two of regrouping after a McNabb departure, once a serviceable quarterback is found and in place the Eagles will be back in regular contention to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.