When Las Vegas sports books started posting odds to win NFL Football Super Bowl XLVI following the Green Bay packers win over Pittsburgh Steelers, the Philadelphia Eagles were considered contenders to win at 15-1.
After aggressively acquiring prized free-agents Nnamdi Asomugha and Cullen Jenkins immediately after the lockout to go along with other signings like Ronnie Brown, Vince Young and a trade for Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie, the Philadelphia Eagles were elevated to co-favorite status with New England Patriots at 5-1.
Expectations were high and it didn’t help matters that back-up quarterback Vince Young dubbed the Philadelphia Eagles “The Dream Team.” The comment wasn’t meant to be boastful, but the media ran with it putting an even bigger bulls-eye on the Philadelphia Eagles back.
There was a nice story brewing and it got expanded even more because of the frenzied pace news and information was coming out following the lockout. Fans were eager for anything football and the reporters were eager to get them the story. Because of the Eagles commitment to win through free-agency like no other time in their history, the Eagles became the story.
It wasn’t like the story was made up out of thin air with no merit. The Eagles were a very good team coming off a 10-6 season and featured Michael Vick at quarterback with two of the rising offensive stars in the league in DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy. In everyone’s mind, adding the top free-agents in the market made them better with a chance at not only winning the NFC East again, but getting home field and winning the conference title.
But things unraveled quickly for Philly, losing four of its first five games. After winning two to get to 3-4 and remain in contention, they proceeded to lose 3 of 4 culminating with a 38-20 blowout loss at home to the Patriots in a matchup hyped before the season as a Super Bowl preview.
So who is to blame in the all disappointment of 4-7? Someone has to pay for the failures and lack of a return on investment. Richie Baccellieri didn’t even hesitate with his answer when posed the question.
“Andy Reid is gone,” said Baccellieri, co-star of The Linemakers on Discovery’s Velocity channel. “I’d make Reid about a -200 favorite to be gone before next season starts. It’s a big results driven city that wants big results now. For whatever reason, the job didn’t get done and it all has to fall on the coach.”
Baccellieri used to run sports books for Caesars Palace and the MGM in Las Vegas and state he’s never seen a hyped team fail so miserably.
“This season has been a disaster. Beyond all the free-agent signings, giving Michael Vick the $100 million deal was the worst of the moves and you know Reid had a hand in that,” he said. “The Philly fans are going to want someone to pay and even though Reid has had some success there, it’s more about what have you done lately.”
There was no better evidence of just how angry the fans are following the Patriots loss when thousands chanted in unison, “Fire Andy!”
Rick Herron ran sports books at the Las Vegas Hilton and Sands but has a much different take on Reid.
“I think Reid is going to weather the storm and will make him a -120 favorite to stay,” says Herron, co-star of The Linemakers. “Let’s be real, Reid’s not just any coach. He’s taken the Eagles to the playoffs in 9 of his 12 years with five conference title games and one Super Bowl. For the most part he did it without help of free-agency and coached a bunch of mediocre teams.”
Reid is the longest tenured head coach in the league having begun his career with the Eagles in 1999. Over that span, he has sent 19 different players to 44 Pro Bowls, more than any other team over that span. None of those players ever played in a Pro Bowl before Reid.
“His resume is pretty strong,” says Herron. “I don’t think there’s a better option for the Eagles than Reid and I think his good relationship with the owners knowing that this was just a freak year will give him a good chance of staying.”
One thing both Herron and Beccellieri did agree on was the fate of another coach.
“I make Norv Turner a -200 favorite that he’ll be gone before Reid,” said Herron after San Diego lost its sixth game in a row.
“One of the biggest mysteries has been how Turner has hung around that organization for so long,” Baccellieri said. “They were quick with the axe on Marty Schottenhiemer, but have hung on for so long with Turner for some reason. I don’t think there’s any way he survives this latest mess.”