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Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Big Question: Andy Reid's legacy

By Matt Mosley

NFC Big Question: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Is Eagles head coach Andy Reid's coaching reputation on the line in 2010?

Andy Reid
Andy Reid is confident the Donovan McNabb trade will not dampen the team's playoff ambitions.
I didn't realize this until I stumbled upon it during a thrilling Google search, but Andy Reid's the eighth-longest tenured coach in professional sports. He's also one of only three NFL coaches who have ultimate authority when it comes to personnel moves.

That means that Donovan McNabb would still be with the Eagles if Reid had decided to fight for his quarterback. Reid not only signed off on a trade, but he approved trading McNabb to a team that will have two cracks at the Eagles every season for the foreseeable future. Reid's been an outrageously successful coach since taking over the Eagles in 1999, but all those wins can't overshadow the fact that he's never won a Super Bowl in Philadelphia. Truth be told, Reid and Joe Banner thought they'd have two or three Super Bowl titles by now.

But the two men (plus new general manager Howie Roseman) have raised the stakes this season. They truly believe they can trade the best quarterback in the history of the franchise while he still has some tread on the tires and not take a step back. If Reid can lead the Eagles deep into the playoffs with Kevin Kolb at quarterback, it will cement his status as one of the best coaches in the league. But this is an absolute high-wire act from the start. If the Eagles flame out and miss the playoffs, Reid would automatically be on the hot seat heading into 2011.

That may not be fair, but that's how it would play out. The Eagles have taken a tremendous gamble by trading an elite quarterback to a division rival and replacing him with an inexperienced player. Roseman told me recently that the Eagles know enough about Kolb that they don't view this is a big risk.

But in many ways, Reid's reputation was tied to McNabb's. Now that they've gone their separate ways, Reid will feel more pressure than ever. If he pulls this off, it will be the most impressive coaching job he's ever done.