It's been a tough year to be a Philadelphia Eagles fan.

Make that a couple of tough years.

Sunday's embarrassing loss to the New York Giants was a fitting end to a season of lopsided losses. The Eagles' record of 4-12 made 2012 their worst season since 1998. Their run of eight straight losses was the team's worst losing streak in 42 years.

Last year's record of 8-8 and the team's failure to make the playoffs for the first time since 2007 were all the more painful because there were such high pre-season expectations. On paper, the Eagles seemed destined for greatness. Everyone agreed things needed to turn around this year. Instead, they got worse.

So it wasn't much of a surprise Monday when team owner Jeffrey Lurie announced that head coach Andy Reid had been fired. The move seemed all but inevitable for weeks.

Pro football is about winning, and when a team can't seem to get it done, the buck stops with the head coach. Probably no one understands this better than Reid.

In 2005, in taking the blame for a 49-21 loss against the Denver Broncos, he made a typical Reid statement: "In everything it's my responsibility. It's my football team. It's a reflection of me."

Many Eagles fans will welcome Reid's departure as a chance to give the team a fresh start.

But once the sting of this season begins to fade, fans may find themselves looking back fondly on the Reid years.

Over 14 seasons - the longest tenure of any current NFL head coach - Reid racked up 130 regular-season wins and 10 postseason victories, giving him the most wins and the highest winning percentage in the history of the franchise.

His team earned six NFC East titles - four of them consecutive - and played in five NFC championship games and one Super Bowl. He was named Coach of the Year three times.

Reid's tenure in Philadelphia included highlights, such as launching the career of Donovan McNabb, and low points, including the 2005 season of distractions caused by Terrell Owens.

Shortly before the 2012 season began, Reid lost his oldest son, Garrett, who died of a heroin overdose. Reid's public reaction was as stoic as his sidelines persona.

Reid is widely expected to pick up another head coaching job - a fresh start of his own.

His departure from Philadelphia seems appropriate, but it's hardly a moment for rejoicing or chest-thumping. Rather, Eagles fans should thank Reid for the good years and wish him well.


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