Philadelphia Eagles president Joe Banner addressed the local media Tuesday for the first time since the 2010 season ended. He didn't say anything particularly revealing, but I think you'll find his comments regarding coach Andy Reid interesting.
Banner obviously has a high opinion of Reid, always has. But in my conversations with Banner over the years, he's always the first to point to the team's lack of championships. Here's what he said Tuesday when asked about Reid's future:
"I think you guys all know, we have a very high opinion of Andy as a person and as a coach," said Banner. "That doesn't mean to imply that he's perfect. He would tell you that himself, there's criticism that's fair.
"But we attracted a group of coaches here that would never have come if it wasn't for somebody like Andy being the head coach . . . We attract players that want to play here because Andy's the head coach. There's only three teams in the league that have made the playoffs the last 3 years. We're not satisfied that we only got to the first round. At the same time, we're not willing to pretend that isn't an accomplishment.
"The future will be determined when we get there. But whatever criticism it leads to, there's nobody in any decision-making position in this organization that isn't going to tell you we have a very, very high opinion of Andy Reid . . .
"We think that the quality of leadership is a crucial, crucial part of evaluating head coaches, and if you look at the ones that have been really successful, they're all tremendous leaders. So you can sit there and critique: Did we take the right timeout, or this or that? Andy's leadership skills and his ability, year after year, to rally players to play hard, play together, play selflessly -- which is such a difficult challenge of leadership in any professional sport -- we put a lot of value on those skills.
"And, at the same time, we're here to win a championship. That needs to be part of the equation, too."
And those last two sentences are pretty interesting, at least to me. Owner Jeff Lurie, Banner and Reid thought they'd have more than one title by now. Banner realizes that fans stopped cheering for consistent playoff appearances years ago. This is a franchise that raised the bar under Reid, but has spent too many postseasons ducking under it. I agree with Daily News columnist Rich Hofmann that Reid's job probably isn't on the line in 2011. For some reason, Reid always seems to have more job security than, say, Tom Coughlin despite the fact the latter won a title.
Reid's been given so much power within the Eagles' organization that it's hard to know who's actually judging him. There are signs that his authority is waning, but the Eagles are so secretive that even that is debatable. Did Andy Reid really want to fire Sean McDermott, for instance?
It's hard to even say how close Banner and Reid are at this point in the proceedings. Banner's certainly a powerful voice in the organization, but it's difficult to know for sure how much gravity that last quote about championships actually has. Banner's one of those guys who operates mostly in the shadows -- unless a team Internet reporter shows up with a mic.
So is Andy Reid actually on the clock? Yes and no.
OK, glad we got to the bottom of that.