Eagles owner Jeff Lurie met the media today to do something he hasn't done in 14 years, announce the firing of his head coach. Lurie even lamented that he's watched these press conferences around the league for so long and been thankful he didn't have to do it himself. However, after a 4-12 season and 4 years without a playoff win, it was time to make a change.
Lurie began by praising Andy for his work ethic, professionalism and record calling him "a gem of a person." He said he looks forward to the day he welcomes back as a member of the Eagles Hall of Fame.
Still, as much as Lurie praised Reid, he couldn't escape the fact that he was at a press conference announcing the firing of the coach. So quickly the questions turned to why.
First, Lurie said that he retained Reid after last year because history showed him that Reid had been able to bounce back.
"Every time our team under Andy Reid was 8-8 or less, the next season we were a double digit win playoff team advancing to the NFC Championship. That was the history. I really believed that this year with our talent we would be a double digit win playoff team. So no one was more disappointed than me in how we finished."
He said he had been leaning toward firing Andy ever since he faced up to the fact that the team wasn't going to improve on last year. However, he promised himself he would not make a final decision until all the games were played. Lurie said the final decision was made today and he informed Andy at 9am this morning.
Lurie explained that the real impetus for the move was that the team's decision making in recent years has become "scattered" and that their desperation to get over the hump and win a Super Bowl caused them to lose track of how they were able to build a successful team in the first place.
"When you've had as much success as we've had and are so close to winning the Super Bowl, at some stage you have an opportunity to think that the next move, even if its not consistent with your other moves, will be the one that gives you the chance to win the Lombardi trophy," Lurie explained. "And I think that in the last couple years we've done things that have not been as consistent, they've been more scattered in terms of decision making."
"With any organization that's had a lot of success, you'll start to reach thinking 'that's the player, that's the mechanism, that's the coach, that's the thing that's going to put us over the top.'"
He seemed to say the moment where the Eagles kind of lost their way was at the end of the Donovan McNabb era.
"You're dealing with a franchise QB that's descending and therefore you're even more motivated before a player hits rock bottom or you're without a franchise QB that you're going to reach and do certain things. So I think we lost some of the exact nature of the method we shared that created all the success. That's discipline, strategic thinking, don't do necessarily what's popular, do what's right."
Lurie says that he was part of that push to do anything to win and takes that responsibility on himself.
"I take some responsibility with that because I was right out in the forefront saying 'let's do anything to win a Super Bowl for our city and our fans. At times you had to be a little more self disciplined and doing that, injecting that into the locker room, affecting the chemistry of the team in some way... That's not the best thing to do."
As for what becomes of Andy's staff, Lurie said they have not been fired and will do their player evaluations this week. They will be allowed to interview for other jobs, but he wants the new coach to meet them and decide if there's anyone he wants to keep.
When the topic turned to the future head coach, Lurie mostly kept it general. He said he wont limit his search at all and is open to NFL or college coaches. He also said that the team who will conduct the search consist of himself, Howie Roseman and COO Don Smolensk
"I'm very confident that we will attract a very good coach and he'll attract a great staff," he said.
Finally, he made it clear that he feels the fans pain.
"I feel the pain. I feel the pain so much," he continued. "When we have a season like this year, it's embarrassing for me and crushing personally."
"These fans deserve the very best and this year they got a team that wasn't very good."