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January 31, 2023

What should Andy Reid's legacy be in Philadelphia?

Andy Reid brought both consistent success and playoff failures to Philly. How should he be remembered?

A generation of Eagles fans grew up watching the most successful period in franchise history, but it was an era filled with colossal disappointment in the biggest of games. Both of those traits can be traced to former head coach Andy Reid, who was in Philadelphia from 1999 to 2012.

The Eagles, of course, will face Reid and his Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII. No one is lamenting that divorce following a 4-12 season in 2012, as the Birds won the Super Bowl with former Reid understudy Doug Pederson in 2017 and then Reid himself finally got his ring in 2019.

Maybe Reid no longer gets a certain segment of the Eagles fan base's blood boiling anymore with how the Eagles have performed in a post-Reid world, making the postseason six times and now reaching the Super Bowl twice. 

Where does that leave Reid's legacy in Philadelphia?

Those big playoff losses still loom large in the heads of Eagles fans even after Pederson and Nick Foles brought the Lombardi Trophy to Philly. 

Simply uttering the names Ronde Barber and Joe Jurevicius will send a shiver down a Philadelphian's spine. It was Reid who oversaw two No. 1 seeded Eagles teams that lost at home with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line as favorites to two unremarkable franchises in the Buccaneers and Panthers. It was Reid's game-planning that had the Eagles' lackadaisical offense going through the motions while attempting a comeback in Super Bowl XXXIX against the Patriots. Reid is the guy who made his offensive line coach his new defensive coordinator in one of the most head-scratching coaching moves in the history of this city's sports scene.

Even with all of those woes and the anger they can bring back for Philly fans, Reid's imprint on this franchise is still felt to this day. 

Look no further than the team's three pillars: Brandon Graham, Jason Kelce and Fletcher Cox. 

Those All-Pro players were drafted when Reid was here and simultaneously working as the organization's executive vice president of football operations. Reid's roster-building philosophy of loading up in the trenches allowed the Eagles to be the most consistent team in the NFC for the past two decades. There are whiffs, sure, like Danny Watkins and Jerome McDougle, but the Eagles aren't worried about that now with how Lane Johnson, Landon Dickerson, Javon Hargrave and others have carried the Birds to the Super Bowl yet again. The Eagles had no problem issuing big contract extensions to Day 3 diamonds-in-the-rough Josh Sweat and Jordan Mailata because of the premium they put on the offensive and defensive line.

General manager Howie Roseman came up through the organization since his arrival in Philadelphia as a salary cap whiz in 2000 and still carries Reid's principles. The Eagles are back in the Super Bowl five years later with a different head coach, a different quarterback and a whole host of new supporting cast members, but they're playing for the Lombardi Trophy once more because their offensive and defensive lines remain so damn good.

Reid went 130-93-1 in the regular season with the Eagles, good for a .583 winning percentage. That win total is easily the highest in franchise history. His winning percentage is only below Earle "Greasy" Neal, who led the Eagles to the 1948 and 1949 NFL Championships, and Nick Sirianni, who may deliver a title of his own next weekend. Your Sundays were more enjoyable in the 2000s than they were at any point previously in your life because of Reid. 

If you're still mad that Reid didn't give Donovan McNabb more talented wide receivers to work with for the first half of his Eagles career, I'm not going to argue with you. If you have extra juice for the Eagles' Super Bowl appearance because they can take down Philadelphia sports' former most divisive figure, go for it and let the venom flow through you. I know I'll have an article at some point in the coming days about Reid's worst losses as the Eagles' head coach. That makes sports fun, but I'll remember his time here for birthing my crazed football fandom, keeping the Eagles in the Super Bowl hunt consistently during my grade school years and bringing forth the best possible way to build a well-oiled machine of a team.

If Graham runs back his Super Bowl LII heroics and has a game-changing strip sack on Patrick Mahomes, you're going to have to thank Reid for trading up and drafting him ahead of Earl Thomas even if it makes you feel dirty.

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