The Philadelphia Eagles technically began the Andy Reid era in 1999. However, the Eagles and Reid really came together in 2000, starting with a successful onside kick in a 41-14 season-opening win over the Dallas Cowboys. It propelled Philadelphia to its first winning season with Reid, yet when it tried this formula again on Dec. 30 in Reid’s last game, it was far less inspirational.
Just like they had in Dallas over 12 years ago, the Eagles caught the Giants off guard with an onside kick on the first play. Yet whereas that fueled the 2000 Eagles to big success, the 2012 Eagles took advantage by letting Michael Vick throw a momentum-killing interception moments later. After that, the Giants were never challenged again en route to a 42-7 victory.
With Reid approaching his last game as an Eagle, recreating the play that launched his career in earnest seemed to be a perfect tribute. However, his 2012 team then spent the next 60 minutes paying tribute to why it was so awful, and why it finally ended Reid’s tenure in Philadelphia.
Of course, the 2000 Eagles had Donovan McNabb leading the way at the beginning of his career. 12 years later, the Eagles were led by a declining, rusty Vick and many other stars that had little in the tank. As such, Philadelphia wasn’t equipped to recapture the magic of 12 years ago, at least for more than one play.
Back when Reid sent a message to the Cowboys and the entire NFL in September 2000, the Eagles were just coming out of their dry spell and about to take the NFC by storm. But 12 years later, Philadelphia is about to enter another dry spell, if it hasn’t already, and will need the trickery of a new coach to get out of it.
Maybe someone like Chip Kelly or Jon Gruden can launch his own Eagles career with a statement-making trick play in 2013 or 2014. They will be hard pressed to match what Reid did for the next five years after that win in Dallas, however.
Nevertheless, Reid’s overabundance of clever plays and lack of simplicity ultimately worked against him. It didn’t bail him out in his final game against the Giants, and without better personnel, it probably won’t bail out the Eagles’ next coach either.