PHILADELPHIA - Today's game against Washington likely will be the last time Eagles coach Andy Reid gets to stand on the home sideline at Lincoln Financial Field.
Barring a reprieve by owner Jeffrey Lurie, Reid's 14-year tenure with the franchise will end sometime after they close the season at the New York Giants on Dec. 30.
"I haven't even thought about (today being his last home game)," Reid said. "I haven't even gone there. I'm just concentrating on the Washington Redskins and keeping it at that. I'd like to tell you a different answer, but I haven't really gone there. I do know that we haven't given our fans the show that we wanted to give them (this season). This is one more opportunity to do that."
Some of the players and assistant coaches have thought about it, however, and are hoping the fans choose to applaud Reid for the success he helped the franchise achieve rather than boo him for the recent ineptitude.
At 4-10, the Eagles are in last place in the NFC and are assured of missing the playoffs in back-to-back years for the first time since Ray Rhodes' last season as coach in 1998 and Reid's first in 1999. From 2000-2010, they made the playoffs nine out of 11 years, won six NFC East titles, reached five NFC championship games and made the Super Bowl in the 2004 season.
Including regular-season and playoff games, Reid is the winningest coach in Eagles' history and ranks 22nd in the NFL with a 140-100-1 record.
"I'm not getting into hypotheticals," Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said. "But Andy's got Hall-of-Fame numbers. Really, the only thing we haven't done here and he hasn't done here is win a Super Bowl. He's had a heck of a run, so I'd expect this to be an emotional game for many of the fans."
Not winning a Super Bowl is a big pimple on the face of the franchise, however. The Eagles' last NFL championship came in 1960. NFC East rivals Dallas (five), the New York Giants (four) and Washington (three) have combined for 12 Super Bowl victories since the game was established in 1967.
The Eagles came close to ending the drought in 2004, but lost to New England 24-21 in Super Bowl XXXIX in Jacksonville, Fla. on Feb. 6, 2005. Particularly upsetting were losses to Tampa Bay and Carolina in the NFC championship games in 2002 and 2003, respectively. Both games were at the Linc and the Eagles were favored.
"If this really is Coach Reid's last go-round, then I think he deserves a lot of respect from the fans for what he's given to this city," Eagles defensive end Trent Cole said. "For myself, I owe him quite a bit. Andy gave me the chance to play in this league and I've had the best time of my life playing for him.
"People don't understand how hard it is to win games in this league and he's done a great job. He shouldn't get blamed for what's happened. Coaches can only coach. It's up to us as players to rise up to the challenge and meet the expectations."
The Eagles have fallen well short of expectations the last two seasons.
They were expected to reach the Super Bowl last season after acquiring big-name talent such as cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, defensive end Jason Babin, running back Ronnie Brown and defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins to pair with Cole, running back LeSean McCoy, wide receiver DeSean Jackson and quarterback Michael Vick.
Instead, they started 4-8 and finished 8-8.
They were viewed as contenders again this season and got off to a 3-1 start before an eight-game losing streak knocked them out of the playoff race. Along the way, they suffered a rash of injuries, especially on offense. Guard Evan Mathis is the only member of the offense to start every game this season.
The team has been showered with boos during the last few home games. They are 2-5 at the Linc this season and have lost five in a row on their home turf.
Still, the players insist that Reid isn't to blame for the failures.
"If you sat here and tried to name five to eight coaches who are better than coach Reid, I would like to hear them," McCoy said. "Coach Reid is a good coach. He gets blamed for everything. But how do you fault the coach for the turnovers and mistakes were make? I guess people have their own opinions and their minds made up, but the thing about this team is we know good of a coach he really is.
"You watch guys on TV bash Coach for this and that, but he's tough. Even in the position we are with the record we have, he still shows up every day ready for work and with the same attitude and intensity. That shows you a lot about him.
"Whatever happens, happens. But I'm behind coach Reid 110 percent."
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