They emerged from the depths Tuesday morning, still boozy in disbelief at they had witnessed the night before. Salesmen, school teachers, truck drivers, dock workers, you name it, all of them struggling to sober up while rejoining their daily existence after experiencing that chilling reality to rival ice water being splashed in the face.
Their team, their escape from a hum-drum life, their outlet to fantasy and fun, to hopes and dreams that reside beyond 9-to-5, Monday-through-Friday, had imploded right before their eyes on national TV. Actually, the sight may have been worse, more like a vessel slowly, but surely sinking into the sea while all hands on deck stood there, sporting looks of daze and confusion, and made no attempts to save themselves.
Welcome to Philadelphia, home of the Eagles and arguably the NFL’s most dedicated and disappointed fans. Much of the aforementioned has become far too common around these parts the past few years as the squad seems to step further away from the promised land with each passing season, if not each passing week anymore, under head coach Andy Reid.
Perhaps the most scary thing for Eagles fans, though, shouldn’t be that, but the fact that owner Jeffrey Lurie somehow can’t seem to find the trigger, and then pull on it with all his might to release what has become so much dead, lifeless weight with his once almost-golden standard franchise.
That Reid wasn’t dismissed following Monday night’s debacle in New Orleans should be a red flag to anyone who thinks Lurie will follow through on his “better do better than 8-8” mandate before the season. Jeff has laid down the law before and then changed it on the fly to make sure he never had to part ways with Reid.
He’s comfortable with Big Red. He likes him. He admires him. They’re “family.” They’ve been through a lot together, even just this year with the owner losing his wife to divorce and the coach his son to drugs.
But personal problems is no reason to commit professional suicide, and Lurie, right now, is doing just that by sticking with his guy. Sure, he’s never going to be hurting for cash, not with the investment the Eagles have turned out to be.
They are, however, teetering on becoming irrelevant. They are hard to watch. They are disorganized, disheveled and definitely not improving under Reid’s current rein. They are, frankly, boring – which is the death knell for any athletic outfit in the business of making money.
Losing may not be a desired result, but it can be an accepted one if a team plays well, if it entertains to some degree. But the Birds are just sheer drudgery right now. There is no redeeming quality to what they do, no matter how much spin-doctoring or denial-closet work anyone who bleeds midnight green might choose to do.
This is a classic case of a ship having already sailed. There is no rhyme or reason to let things play out with Reid, or many of his players. Protocol be damned; it doesn’t apply when a corpse has replaced what should be a living, breathing entity of athletic competition.
The coach needs to be gone now. So do so many from a team filled with specialists who are not so special at their specialty. Cornerback Nmamdi Asomugha, the big free-agent pick-up prior to the 2011 season – he’s supposed to be great in press coverage. Don’t you have to be kinda put-together and strong to succeed in that? No offense to Asomugha’s Kramer from Seinfeld-like wiry, and perhaps even spry, stature, but he ain’t exactly striking fear in anyone who lines up across from him.
Defensive end/self-indulged drama queen Jason Babin? The door on the way out couldn’t hit fast enough for such limited, one-dimensional player who has failed miserably at even providing that dimension. The right thing to do would be to show as much disinterest in him as he shows in the game of football.
Tight end Brent Celek? It’s doubtful one player has ever sold his quarterback down the river more with not only bad hands at bad times, but by displaying an amazing knack for volleying passes into defenders’ hands. His overrated act has received far too many positive reviews by those caught up with flashes of athletic skill and his “one of us” attitude fueled by a ridiculous, “hahaha, that’s so cool” Captain Morgan pose following a TD a couple years ago.
The list, really, at this point almost seems endless – of things that need to be done, and people who need to be gone from the organization.
Unless Lurie gets the nerve to pull the trigger, though, nothing is going to happen. The very real possibility that may never change should be positively frightening to Eagles fans.
Enjoy the ice water.