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Revisiting Andy Reid’s last season with Eagles: How worst record of coaching career led to firing, Chip Kelly era

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Andy Reid’s connection to the Eagles is extremely well-documented.

The Chiefs coach got his first head coaching job in Philadelphia in 1999 and held that post until 2012, leading to the Eagles to the most sustained success in the franchise’s history at that time.

They were an NFC competitive mainstay, and made five conference championships, along with a Super Bowl berth. However, the Eagles were never quite able to get over the hump, going 1-4 in conference championship games and 0-1 in the Super Bowl.

In spite of the Eagles’ prolonged success under Reid, his departure from Philadelphia was less than amicable. Reid’s contract wasn’t renewed after he went 4-12 with Michael Vick and Nick Foles getting snaps at quarterback, and the Eagles instead decided to bring in former Oregon coach Chip Kelly, who was a hot coaching commodity at the time. Reid was picked up by the Chiefs on Jan. 4, 2013, thus giving him a fresh start.

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Andy Reid’s 2012 season

The 2012 Eagles were in a scrambling position of sorts. They had just finished 8-8 the season before and experienced some turnover in their coaching staff, with Todd Bowles joining as defensive coordinator midseason in October. 

Things started out well enough for the Eagles, with them notching wins in their first two games over the Browns and Ravens.

However, entering Week 5 with a 3-1 record, the drop was precipitous.

The Eagles lost eight straight games starting with the Steelers, proceeding to go winless in October and November. It took a 23-21 win over the Buccaneers on Dec. 9 to finally snap that losing streak, but then dropped their final three games of the season. The season culminated in an embarrassing 42-7 smackdown at the hands of the Giants, which left a bitter taste in the mouths of all involved.

“Either way, I understand,” the ever-charming coach said at his press conference after that Giants game. “If I’m here again, I’ll love every minute of it. If I’m not, I’ll understand that, too.”

Just a day later, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie confirmed Reid would not be returning in 2013.

“Andy Reid won the most games of any head coach in Eagles’ history and he is someone I respect greatly and will remain friends with for many years to come,” Lurie said in a statement. “But, it is time for the Eagles to move in a new direction. Andy leaves us with a winning tradition that we can build upon. And we are very excited about the future.”

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Why did the Eagles hire Chip Kelly?

It’s hard to overstate the buzz Kelly had stirred up with his time at Oregon around the time Reid was fired.

Kelly initially removed himself from consideration for the Eagles job, before performing an about-face and signing on with the Eagles. Kelly was 46-7 at Oregon and was a top candidate to make the jump to the NFL.

So great was Lurie’s faith in Kelly, in fact, he gave him control of personnel as well. 

“Chip Kelly will be an outstanding head coach for the Eagles,” Lurie said after hiring him, per NBC Sports. “He has a brilliant football mind. He motivates his team with his actions as well as his words. He will be a great leader for us and will bring a fresh, energetic approach to our team.”

The honeymoon period was brief. The Eagles won the NFC East in his first season at 10-6, then missed the playoffs with the same record the next season. Kelly was fired ahead of the final game of the season in 2015 after going 6-9, with Lurie bemoaning the choice to hire him.

“Making significant changes, you can easily achieve mediocrity,” Lurie said of moving on from Kelly in 2015. “I think it would be a shame not to try, but the end result was mediocrity. And as the owner of the team I’ve got to look at the progress and trajectory of where it’s headed. And it’s disappointing to me, but that is the danger when you take a risk.”

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Why did the Chiefs hire Andy Reid?

The 2012 Chiefs were brutally bad.

They finished at 2-14 the year before Reid came in, and desperately needed a shakeup.

After Romeo Crennel was fired on Dec. 31, the Chiefs’ coaching position was open less than a week before Reid was signed on Jan. 4. 

Reid inherited a team that had no quarterback to speak of and very little NFL standing. Indeed, Peyton Manning wouldn’t even give the Chiefs the time of day during his much-discussed free agency. Reid, however, brought on a culture shift. After Scott Pioli was fired he had an effective working relationship with John Dorsey, helping to bridge the gap between the field and the front office.

After the Chiefs drafted Patrick Mahomes, they had the pieces they need to be a perennial contender.

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Of course, moving on from Reid ended up working out perfectly fine for the Eagles. Despite having three head coaches (and an interim) in the time Reid has been in Kansas City, they’re making their second Super Bowl appearance since their split.

It’s fair to say that, despite their less than stellar breakup, it benefitted both sides in the end. Whoever wins in the Super Bowl is going to have some bragging rights over the other side. But both teams have extremely bright futures regardless of the result.


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