andy reid

Eagles head coach Andy Reid and QB 7 Michael Vick wait for a challenge call during the second quarter. Sunday October 2 2011 San Francisco 49ers at Philadelphia Eagles, Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia Pa. (The Press of Atlantic City / Ben Fogletto)

Ben Fogletto

Now the time is really mine.

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie finally fired coach Andy Reid, much to the delight of a fan base that for some reason failed to appreciate all that Reid was able to accomplish during his 14-year tenure.

Reid's inability to earn the admiration of a large portion of Eagles' followers was the most puzzling part of his reign.

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I never understood it.

His 140 regular-season and playoff victories are easily the most in franchise history - Greasy Neale is in second place with 66 - and he turned a downtrodden franchise into one of the best in the NFL. However, he ranks much lower on the list of Eagles coaches in terms of popularity.

Dick Vermeil posted a 57-51 record during his seven-year stint in Philadelphia and saw his 1980 team get hammered by Oakland in the Super Bowl, but he is beloved by Eagles' fans.

Reid's 10 playoff victories are 10 more than Buddy Ryan earned in his five seasons with the Eagles, yet Ryan enjoys legendary status among former players and supporters.

Reid ranks somewhere between Ray Rhodes and Rich Kotite.

His personality certainly had something to do with it. As one of the Eagles' beat writers, I found his arrogance and occasional lack of honesty during his press conferences to be almost as infuriating as his trademark lines like "We look forward to the challenge of playing (insert upcoming opponent here)", "Any win in the National Football League is a good win", and of course the infamous "Time is yours" quip that preceded question-and-answer sessions that were usually a waste of time.

But he did make an effort to connect with the fan base. After home victories, Reid often lauded the crowd for generating an electric atmosphere. He followed the Eagles' 23-21 win at Tampa Bay on Dec. 9 by thanking the Eagles' fans in the stands for their support.

Reid also tried to relate by telling various versions of a story throughout the years that involved him going to a nearby McDonald's for breakfast.

In 1999, the day after he earned the first of those 140 wins by beating Dallas, Reid spoke of getting high-fives from the other customers when he went to pick up a couple of "breakfast bagels." Eight years later, when recounting the visit prior to another game against the Cowboys, Reid said he headed to the Golden Arches for a "breakfast burrito" and encountered an 80-year-old woman who told him that he "better kick their. ... you know."

In addition, there were acts of kindness that went unpublicized. Reid frequently visited local hospitals to visit ailing fans. A few years ago, when he heard of a Lower Township teacher who was retiring, he dispatched an autographed helmet that also contained a heartfelt message.

Despite his lack of candor during press conferences, the guy is a heck of a coach. And if I owned the Eagles, Reid would be patrolling the sideline again in 2013.

Yes, there were flaws. His clock management was almost laughable at times and his stubborn refusal to run the football more often was

infuriating. But he won. ... A lot.

Reid has one year left on his contract, so why not let him earn the money? Most of the Eagles' troubles this season were caused by a rash of injuries to the offensive line and an ineffective defensive strategy.

I would have brought Reid and most of the coaching staff back. I would have given Reid and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg have a full year to see what quarterback Nick Foles could do behind a healthy line featuring five-time Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters. I would have kept defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and allowed him to have an entire offseason to instill his own scheme.

Instead, he's gone and the fans couldn't be happier.

Let's see how they treat the next coach.

Time is yours.

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