The Dallas Cowboys, a nauseating sports franchise run by an evil owner, received cheers in the living rooms of the Delaware Valley. It is now official. Eagles fans have reached rock bottom.
Normally, a loss to the Cowboys would create a pall over Philadelphia that would take weeks to lift, but that was before Andy Reid stole football from the most passionate city in the NFL. For this one unprecedented moment in time, a 38-23 loss to the despicable intruders brought actual
relief, a long-awaited sense of closure. Thank you, Jerry Jones.
All it took was a concussion to Mike Vick, another pitiful performance by the offensive line, a clinic by the defense on how not to tackle, and a team-wide meltdown that handed the Cowboys 21 points in 2:29 early in the fourth quarter. Not even a PA system ramped up to ear-curdling levels could block the sad truth. At this point, we're all just happy to end the suffering.
Reid is gone now, a dead coach walking. If Jeff Lurie doesn't stop the misery early, then the last seven weeks of this doomed season will be more about the next chapter than the current one. Nick Foles will get a much longer audition than he got Sunday, behind one of the worst lines in history. The rest of the underachievers will try to salvage whatever is left of their declining careers.
But any delusion of one last revival is over, obliterated by an Eagles team that stopped performing and a coach who lost his way. After suffering through the infuriating exit of Brian Dawkins, the uncivil departure of David Akers and the cold, public execution of Juan Castillo, Reid's own goodbye will be less dramatic, and far less poignant.
In fact, the most intriguing part of the months ahead will be debating his legacy. Will Reid be remembered for winning more games than any other Eagles coach? Or will mention of his name forever call to mind the countless botched opportunities, the squandered timeouts, the refusal to run, the insulting postgame comments?
Many media sycophants will try a happy spin to Reid's tenure, recalling the five NFC championship games and the Super Bowl appearance. Smart fans will know better. To them, Reid will be just another coach who said one thing and did another.
Reid will be the coach who preached character when he first got here, then turned his team over to an ex-con. Reid will be the coach who extolled loyalty in the locker room, until he needed to practice it himself. Reid will be the coach who lavished praise on the fans, but never thought enough of them to give a straight answer to a fair question.
And, after a Sunday like no other, Andy Reid was the coach who did the impossible. He made us root for the Dallas Cowboys, just to end the pain.
Can Sixers tell the truth?
After dodging questions for one full week, Sixers GM Tony DiLeo finally saw fit to do his job yesterday and offered an update on Andrew Bynum. The news was terrible.
Now the stud center is not expected to play his first game here until around the first of the year. There are a couple of amazing things about this announcement. The first is that it took DiLeo so long to respond to the only question that truly matters to fans.
On a team that has preached transparency since the change of ownership, DiLeo needs to stop hiding and to start respecting the fans. If he prefers this cloak-and-dagger stuff, he should apply for the vacant CIA director's job.
And second, is it fair to begin asking exactly what the Sixers got in that big trade last summer? We know they gave up Andre Iguodala (good riddance), Moe Harkless (their No. 1 pick), Nic Vucevic and a protected first-round pick for Bynum and Jason Richardson. Without Bynum, that deal reeks. With him, who knows?
Despite all of the claims that the Sixers didn't receive damaged goods when they acquired Bynum, there is now little question they did. After all, Bynum was scheduled for the experimental knee treatments in Germany before the trade. People tend not to sign up for exotic medical procedures when they are healthy.
In the long-awaited medical update yesterday, the Sixers again cited a bone bruise as the cause of the current trouble -- a bone bruise that will take a minimum of 11 weeks to heal. Either this is the most amazing bone bruise in history, or DiLeo is tap-dancing around the truth.
So what is the truth? My guess is, Bynum has a chronic knee condition that is threatening his future. Just don't expect DiLeo to be honest about it soon.
Chucky ready to pick up the pieces for Reid
Jon Gruden will be the next coach of the Eagles.
Got you, didn't I? Reading those words brought a twinge of excitement, at least for a fleeting second. Don't deny it. When rumors of Gruden's return began circulating last Thursday, interest in the Eagles snapped back like the flip of a light switch. There is no other logical conclusion to draw from that dubious rumor: The current fan malaise is not fatal.
If the Eagles' faithful could survive the seven-game losing streak that ended Rich Kotite's clueless tenure or the 3-13 catastrophe that sent Ray Rhodes back into seclusion, our football passion will endure beyond the end of the Andy Reid era, too. This, too, shall pass. It always does. It always will.
My job in radio for the past 23 years has been to gauge fan interest and adjust to it. Well, there is no denying that this soft, sullen Eagles team has sucked dry the love that Philadelphia has for its favorite sports franchise, at least for the moment. There are only so many "gotta do a better jobs" our psyches can endure before we all short-circuit.
The tendency at moments like this is to proclaim a seismic shift in our affections, but there will be no major change in the long run. In fact, when Eagles fans responded so hopefully to the mere whisper of Jon Gruden taking over for Reid, they were already showing that their apathy has the same expiration date as the current head coach.
Better days are ahead. Jon Gruden will be the next coach of the Eagles.
Got you again, didn't I?
-- Angelo Cataldi is the host of 94 WIP's Morning Show, which airs weekdays 5:30-10 a.m.
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