Much has been made about whether the Philadelphia Eagles should fire Andy Reid this offseason. The team entered the 2011 season amid expectations to challenge the Green Bay Packers for supremacy in the NFC, and came far short.
The Eagles finished 8-8, struggling early and falling victim to the same mistakes that has plagued Reid throughout his 13-year career. The Eagles dealt with poor clock management, inexperienced linebackers, and ultimately failure to beat playoff teams.
This year’s Eagles went just 1-4 against playoff opponents. Historically, Reid has always been overmatched against good teams and especially great teams. I went back and looked at the Eagles under Reid in four separate categories: against winning teams, against playoff teams, against teams with a playoff win, and against Super Bowl teams.
I broke it down ever further, looking at the Eagles from 1999-2004 and then 2005-now.
The decline from the pre-Super Bowl era to the post-Super Bowl era is astounding, notably in the games against teams with a playoff win. From 1999-2004, Reid won his fair share of games against teams that went on to win in the playoffs, posting a .429 winning percentage. Since the Super Bowl, he’s just 3-24, an absolutely frightening total.
One of those wins came against the New York Giants this year, a team that the Eagles technically split games with in the regular season. The other two wins were the aforementioned games against the ’08 Super Bowl teams – both hard-fought, well-deserved victories. The Eagles destroyed Ben Roethlisberger and the offense in the 15-6 win in Week 3 and won 48-20 against Arizona on Thanksgiving night when Donovan McNabb threw four touchdown passes a week after getting benched.
Reid has never done well against Super Bowl teams either. He went just 3-9 in the first six years and one of those wins was against a Rams team that rested its starters in the final week of the 1999 regular season.
Three other times under Reid, the Eagles beat a team that went to the Super Bowl and then went on to lose in the playoff rematch (2002 Tampa Bay, 2003 Carolina, 2008 Arizona). The only time the Eagles have defeated a team that went on to win the Super Bowl was the 15-6 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2008.
Against playoff teams, Reid used to win nearly half of his games (47.7 percent), but now he’s down to just 15 wins in the last seven years. Nine of those wins have come within the division, meaning Reid averages less than one win against a non-division playoff team over the last seven years.
I broke it down even more, looking at how Reid has done each year against Super Bowl teams, teams with a playoff win, playoff teams, and winning teams.
The inability to beat playoff teams – and more so, teams with a playoff win – is shocking. Any team would surely struggle against playoff teams, but Reid’s sharp decline in winning percentage against teams with a playoff win is alarming.
From 2002 to 2004, the Eagles went 9-7 against teams that went on to win a playoff game and twice beat a Super Bowl team. After their NFC Championship Game win in the 2004 playoffs, the Eagles went until the third week of the 2008 season before beating a playoff team. The Eagles lost 13 in a row during that streak, going 22-7 against non-winning teams and 5-18 against teams with a winning record.
Reid has created a winning philosophy in Philadelphia, but one in which he can’t beat superior opponents. The Eagles can’t beat the elite teams in the NFL, nor can they beat the top quarterbacks in the game.
Reid is 1-3 against Peyton Manning in his career, 0-4 against Tom Brady, 0-2 against Aaron Rodgers, and 1-3 against Drew Brees. He’s 1-4 in conference championship games, even though the Eagles probably should have won every one of them. In the six biggest games of his coaching career (the Super Bowl included), Reid is 1-5.
If you need a man to beat a losing team by three scores, Reid is your man. But if you want to be holding up that Super Bowl trophy, it may be time to look elsewhere.