No matter how often or how strongly I answer the question, people keep insisting on asking me if the Philadelphia Eagles will fire coach Andy Reid if the team misses the playoffs. The answer is no, has always been no and will continue to be no, regardless of how many games this team loses this season. The Eagles' front office and owner have no interest in firing Reid and rebuilding a coaching staff, no matter how upset the fans are, and it's not really even something for which it's worth holding out hope.
ReidBut if you don't believe me, I have someone else's perspective for you. Ashley Fox was a newspaper columnist in Philadelphia for many years before she became our national NFL columnist, and her latest is all about this issue. She knows how the organization works and all of the reasons why Reid is safe:
Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie likes Reid and the setup he has in the front office. Reid is the executive vice president of football operations, which means he allegedly controls all football decisions. Team president Joe Banner is the cap guru who makes the contracts work. And Howie Roseman, the team's young general manager, is Banner's apprentice.
Egos and personalities being what they are, the Reid-Banner-Roseman union is far from a perfect partnership, but it is symbiotic, and from Lurie's perspective, it works. Lurie's leadership style is to trust his people to do the jobs he pays them handsomely to do, and he generally butts out.
Other reasons Ashley cites are Reid's outstanding win-loss record since taking over as Eagles coach, the team's investment in quarterback Michael Vick (as well as Vick's close relationship and complete trust in Reid) and the not-insignificant fact that Reid is signed through 2013. Ashley says she believes Lurie would like to win a Super Bowl, but all indications are that Lurie is level-headed enough to understand that it's more important to have a team that consistently puts itself in position to make the playoffs and have a chance of winning it all. Reid has surely done that, even if the end result has not been as ultimately satisfying as he, Lurie or the fans might like.
As he does every offseason, Lurie will evaluate Reid. He will look at his strengths and weaknesses, the wins and losses, and then make the same determination he has made in the 12 previous offseasons: that the Eagles are better with Reid than without him.
And there you have it. All of the information I have on this topic jives completely with Ashley's, and hers is more extensive. Eagles fans can cry all the way about wanting Reid out, but the facts are (a) that there's no one out there with a better record of success with whom they could replace him and (b) the people making the decisions have no desire to see him go. The consequences for Reid if this once-promising season bottoms out will be that he has to find a way to deal with his missed opportunity and then come back next summer and try it again with basically the same team.