When Andy Reid makes his return to the Super Bowl sideline on Sunday, he’ll do so in red, yellow and white. And if his Kansas City Chiefs manage to win the big one, history’s enduring image of Reid very well may be in those colors. The Gatorade bath, the confetti, the Lombardi Trophy—pictures of Reid enjoying those moments may be 60 minutes of football away.
But we know there is more to his story. For 14 long years, Reid wore green as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. After a long tenure of near misses, playoff disappointments and a Super Bowl XXIX defeat at the hands of the Patriots, you might think that a notoriously intense fan base could be bitter to see its old coach possibly reach the pinnacle elsewhere. You’d be wrong.
Ever since the Chiefs beat the Tennessee Titans to clinch the AFC championship—and, truthfully, well before that—Philly fans have been asked the question: Are you rooting for Andy Reid?
An ABC News poll found that 87% said yes. A Twitter poll from NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jon Clark came in at 85.8% yes. A poll of over 3,330 readers of SB Nation’s Bleeding Green Nation blog found 94% yes. And when was the last time 90% of the internet agreed on anything?
So I put together a panel of representative Eagles fans—a mixture of actual famous people and those with viral internet fame—to ask them a few questions about Andy Reid.
Some quotes have been lightly edited for length and clarity.
The panel of nine:
• Ed Rendell: Former mayor of Philadelphia, former governor of Pennsylvania, longtime panelist on NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Eagles Postgame Live, even while serving those offices.
• Carli Lloyd: U.S. soccer star. Two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup champion, two-time Olympic gold medalist, two-time FIFA Player of the Year, drilled a 55-yard field goal at an Eagles training camp practice in 2019.
• Brad Rutter: All-time leading money-winner in the history of Jeopardy!. Recently answered “Eagles Super Bowl LII Champs” with a wager of $4,133 (the score of the game) in a Final Jeopardy! response during the Jeopardy! “Greatest of All Time” tournament.
• Jim Cramer: Host of CNBC’s Mad Money, founder of TheStreet.com, best-selling author and host on Sports Illustrated’s Bull Market Fantasy show.
• Hakim Laws: Eagles fan who went viral for a local news appearance after he caught babies being rescued from a burning building, which he claimed he had done “unlike [Nelson] Agholor.”
• Larry Poff: Eagles fan who went viral when a series of his drunken TV appearances during the Andy Reid era resurfaced in recent years. His iconic catchphrases include “Listen!” and “Jeff Garcia baby, he’s our baby!”
• Eric Furda: Eagles fan who went viral for being captured on the broadcast screaming at referees during an Eagles-Lions game, who was later identified as the Dean of Admissions at the University of Pennsylvania.
• Jigar Desai: Eagles fan who went viral for running into a subway pole at full speed before the Eagles won the 2017 NFC Championship.
Are you rooting for Andy Reid? Why or why not?
Rutter: Yes, and honestly I can’t figure out why you wouldn’t. People forget what a loser franchise the Eagles were, pretty much until Andy showed up. Buddy Ryan never won a playoff game. And you know, Rich Kotite and Bud Carson finally win one and it’s like they want to have a parade down Broad Street because it had been so long. I was as frustrated as anybody with going to the NFC championship game every year and not winning the Super Bowl. But Andy turned the Eagles from a terrible franchise into one of the class franchises in the league.
Dunphy: Yeah, I am. Andy deserves it. He’s a great coach. He’s the Eagles’ second-best coach of all-time—can’t say first no more ’cause Doug [Pederson] got us over the hump.
Rendell: Mark me down as someone rooting hard for Andy to win. I think he was a good coach for us. He got us into the conference championship a number of times, won one of them. He got us to a Super Bowl. We lost it, but we came pretty close. I think he did a great job here.
Furda: Absolutely. I think there is a general spirit. And as I was talking to a colleague of mine, he’s like ‘Hey if it wasn’t for Andy Reid, what about Doug Pederson, and what about Nick Foles?’ Andy has influenced the game. And he has certainly had an influence over people who are still critically important to this city. With everything else that has gone on in Coach Reid’s life too. People see that, and he’s a human being. He’s had the trials and tribulations, that hopefully not so many people have in their lives, but does happen in life. So I don’t think anyone could not be happy for Andy Reid. Unless you’re a San Francisco fan, I guess.
Lloyd: Being an Eagles fan all my life, growing up as a little girl, I can’t help but root for the guy. I mean he brought the Eagles to a Super Bowl. He just seems like a really awesome, awesome coach to play for, and I feel like he’s done an amazing job with Kansas City.
Laws: Uhh, it would be nice if he wins the Super Bowl. But it would be nice if Shanahan wins the Super Bowl too. It’s like the battle of the biggest losers, I guess. But I’m actually not exactly rooting for him. But I’m not rooting against him either. I’m just eager to see what happens. It’s kind of like, let’s say I was married and then we got divorced and my wife went on somewhere else. I wouldn’t be rooting for her to get a ring anywhere else. You feel me? But I’m not hating on him either. It would be great if he does win. And I guess a lot of Eagles fans will feel like it’s a win for Philly if he won. I feel like it would have been a win for Philly if he won in the Super Bowl with us.
Poff: Yeah. I mean he turned this team around. After that they won. They went to four championship games in a row. I really liked him.
Desai: Yeah, I am rooting for Andy. Throughout the league, I see former players embracing Andy and talking about Andy with such great respect. He’s a good guy. He’s a great coach. And I’d hate for his legacy in the NFL to be the greatest coach in history without a Super Bowl. And he was instrumental, even in our Super Bowl, right? Bringing Doug to us. And again, this shows the respect that Jeff Lurie and Howie Roseman have for Coach Reid, that they reached out to him to talk about Doug specifically. He was instrumental in getting Nick Foles to not consider retirement, and trying to get back his love of football. Certainly, the draft picks. There were, I want to say, six or seven Andy Reid players that were left behind. So indirectly he had a hand in the Eagles’ Super Bowl, which is at some level nice to see. And I want him to earn it on his own.
Cramer: Yeah and I’m going [to Miami] in part because I want to see Andy. Andy and Tammy are—my wife would say don’t call them friends, they’re acquaintances—but I regard them as friends. After I said best of luck to Tammy I got a very nice note last week. I just feel like I care more about Coach Reid winning than I care about pretty much anything, other than the Eagles.
Is your answer different because the Eagles won the Super Bowl two years ago?
Dunphy: That’s a good question. I don’t know, it’s hard to say because we got one. But yeah, I could see possibly. I don’t know though. That’s a good question, I really don’t know.
Furda: You know I’ve actually thought of that. That’s a great question. And the way I was trying to think about it is how did he feel that it took place? In sports as with everything, it’s too easy to second-guess yourself sometimes. And so you kind of look over and say, ‘Wow, that person is now on this team.’ I mean look at Markelle Fultz right now in the NBA. Wow, a triple-double against L.A. Hmm. But the transitive property doesn’t work, just because it happened here doesn’t mean it would have happened there or vice versa. But I do think there is probably a warmer glow since we have our own Super Bowl victory in the last couple of years.
Cramer: That’s a great question. I mean it’s true, a lot of life changed when they won. A lot of life. I think about it whenever I’m down. I went to the 2004 game [February 2005] against the Pats. And you know that was a bitter experience. Very bitter. Could have won, but things happened at the end of the game that weren’t good. And I just keep hoping that Andy gets to win the big one. Everybody loves Coach Reid. I mean the players love Coach Reid, the fans love Coach Reid. A town can love Coach Reid. He’s really easy to love, even though he’s very gruff and tough. We know that in reality, he’s got a huge heart and he’s a great guy.
Rendell: I’d be rooting hard for him anyway. I rooted for [former Eagles coach] Dick Vermeil to win the Super Bowl when he won it [Super Bowl XXXIV with the Rams]. Why would Reid be any different? Vermeil lost the Super Bowl with us too.
Rutter: I can get, if two years ago hadn’t happened, maybe I could see—and I would probably be like this too—like ‘Oh man, I can’t believe Andy’s gonna win one before the Eagles.’ But we won the Super Bowl! Who cares now? I’m rooting for him now. I’d be way more conflicted about it probably. I would still be rooting for him, but there’d be a little tinge of bitterness probably. But now that they won the Super Bowl, I can’t see any reason not to.
Laws: No. Not at all. I would have rather seen the Eagles win this year, you know what I’m saying? I’m an Eagles fan.
Desai: Had you asked me this question before the Eagles won the Super Bowl, I’m sure I’d give a very different response. Because the last thing you want is for a coach to take you through 14 years of almost there, and frustration throughout the way, and then for him to learn his lessons and win it with another team. That probably would have been extremely frustrating for me. But having won the Super Bowl, I can say genuinely that I am rooting for Andy Reid. Because I can look back on his tenure with the Eagles, I can look back on it fondly. I can really appreciate the good that he did provide, and the excitement that he did provide, and the hope that he did provide. So yeah, I’m certainly not buying Chiefs paraphernalia, I’m not running through a pillar for the Chiefs or Andy Reid, I’m not losing sleep as this game approaches. But I will be rooting for him and I will be genuinely happy for him and hopefully he brings closure to the whole thing.
Poff: Probably. But you know, even a couple years ago, I just felt bad. It seemed like they were a good team, Kansas City, and you know he’d get to the playoffs and blow it and I’m thinking, ‘Well he did that with us too, a couple years.’ I mean five championship games and he only went to one Super Bowl. But like I said, I always liked him. I hope he gets one.
Does his success in Kansas City change how you feel about his time in Philly at all?
Laws: No, absolutely not. I think Andy Reid was a great coach. He brought us to the Super Bowl. And he’s one of the winningest coaches in the league that doesn’t have a ring. I respect Andy Reid.
Dunphy: No. Just about everything he’s done in K.C., he’s done in Philly. And he might get over the hump finally. If not, he’s just doing the same thing he did in Philly, where he can’t get over the hump.
Rutter: Not necessarily about his time in Philly, but I think the big difference is that he’s just coaching the team and he’s not doing anything with the personnel. Andy had to learn it the hard way, but once any coach wins 10 games in a season—[fake cough] Chip [Kelly]—all of a sudden they want full personnel control. And I think they’re different skill sets.
Furda: I think he’s had a lot of similar success. He only, you know only quote unquote, went to the Super Bowl once here, while, just think of how many NFC East championships and how many conference championship games. And it’s just, as with everything, getting that next step. And again, it just goes to show you how hard it is, regardless of who you are, to get to that next step. As a great coach, a great quarterback, whatever the position may be.
Rendell: No. Look, Andy was always a very good offensive coach. And we scored a ton of points when Andy was our coach. He was always a good judge of talent. Remember he picked Donovan. And if you recall, there were four quarterbacks everyone thought were the crème de la crème that year.
Cramer: I never wanted to see him go. I thought he was an amazing coach—you know five NFC championship games. But it’s hard to stay at that elevated level. There were some years where we were so great and we just didn’t bring home the big one. But I understand that I don’t own the team. It was time for Andy to move on. He had a terrible tragedy in his life that year that he didn’t have a good season. Kansas City is a town which would love you no matter what. Witness the fact that their stadium has been filled even though this is the first time they’re in the Super Bowl in 50 years. And I think that it was good for Andy to go to a town where they will embrace you and not boo you after one bad play, which is what Philadelphia’s like.
Poff: No, I think he had a lot of success in Philly. You know he was great here. I just think it was time, things were catching up with him and it was time for him to go. But I think he’s a great coach. I mean look what he did there—look what he did here.
Lloyd: No. I think he’s obviously done really well. They had a good year last year as well, but fell a little short. But I think it’s all about the timing of things and personnel. You maybe talk to other Eagles fans and they feel differently. But I think what he did in Philly was still pretty remarkable throughout his tenure. Obviously, we would have liked to win the Super Bowl when he was coaching. But it didn’t happen, and years later Eagles fans got what they wanted. But I think he’s got an opportunity to really cement his place in history and hopefully that happens.
Desai: Again it comes with the lens of having won the Super Bowl. Very well my answer could be different if we hadn’t done that. But I’m gonna say no. He was always a good coach. So I’m not gonna say it’s surprising to me by any means. The things that he did in Philly, the clock management issues, abandoning the run early, he still does that and he has those tendencies to some degree. But I feel like he’s gotten better. And the talent that he has on that team, it’s almost like I wish Andy doesn’t get in his own way, come the Super Bowl.
How did you feel about him when he was in Philadelphia?
Laws: It was kind of a mixed bag. You know how Philly fans are. Like if you’re doing good we’re on your side. If you’re not doing good, we’re kinda kicking you in the ass. So I was kinda like 50/50, based on performance.
Rutter: I was always pretty pragmatic about at it. It’s like, ‘OK, fire Andy, who are you going to hire? Who’s better?’ As frustrating as it was, and as infuriating as burning the timeouts and huddling with two and a half minutes left in the fourth quarter, and all that stuff, I remember just a few years earlier when I think they were 3-13 in Ray Rhodes’s last year. You could have done a lot worse.
Rendell: I think he’s a great guy. He had a lot of personal adversity while he was here. My heart went out to him. Most people who work with Andy love him. And he was always available to do stuff for the city whenever I called. He was just a great guy and we’re really happy for him.
Lloyd: I liked him as a coach. I never met him, but just from what I saw, I was a fan. I think he’s maybe a bit different than other coaches. I don’t think other coaches would have given Vick a second shot, and he did and he kind of revitalized his career a bit. I think he’s done a tremendous job, and he seems like he just likes coaching football and does his thing and is pretty low key.
Cramer: He’s such a great man. And I will always remember him being one of the greatest guys to my dad. He always made my dad feel like a king and that’s my kind of guy. I helped him at a fundraiser for battered women, and I’ve always regarded the Reids as people I would do anything for.
Desai: I look back and I remember the years fondly. In the moment, I liked Andy Reid but I remember being frustrating by abandoning the run, the clock management issues that he had. And I think his press conferences really frustrated the hell out of me at some point. When I would hear the coughing, you know, “It’s on me,”; “I’ve got to put people in better position”; “Time’s yours.” That started to get stale for me. And I wanted to see improvement and the ability for him to learn from prior mistakes. But I really appreciated him in the moment. I mean he took us to five NFC Championship games. So it’s hard to not enjoy all the times he gave us to cheer and to root for the team.
Poff: I really liked him. I mean it was time for him to go. But I think when he was here he did great for this city and for that team.
Dunphy: All he’s ever done, my whole childhood growing up, we never won. But a lot of great memories with the teams that he coached throughout the 2001-2006 era, and 2008 we went back against the Cardinals. We lost again but those were a lot of great years, a lot of great teams. I’ll always have respect for him.
Furda: You know, you see this after 13, 14 seasons coaching here, sometimes people and organizations need changes. And it can be healthy for both, regardless of whether it feels good at the time. Obviously it’s easy to say that in the rearview mirror, or Monday morning quarterbacking.
What’s your message to Andy on behalf of Philadelphia?
Rutter: Hey man, we still love you in Philly. You did a great job. We’re rooting for you.
Furda: Hey, it’s the City of Brotherly Love. We’ve got the Love statue here. We love you, Coach Reid. Bring it, all that you can in the Super Bowl, and we’re proud of you regardless of the outcome.
Rendell: 70% of the people are rooting for you to win the Super Bowl, and that’s better than any politician has gotten, except for me when I got 81% when I ran for reelection as mayor.
Laws: Bring it home, Andy. This might be your last shot [laughing]. You got a lot of people in Philly rooting for you. So definitely bring it home, and we can feel some type of joy. Me? I won’t feel good or bad either way. But for most of us, we will.
Desai: Good luck, Andy Reid. Please let your team perform the way they are capable of performing. Let someone else manage the clock. And have fun. Enjoy this moment. You enjoyed it as a head coach once before and it didn’t go in our favor. But enjoy the moment, and I wish you the best of luck, and I hope you get over that hump.
Cramer: We always loved you. We’ll love you even more if you win.
Lloyd: Thanks for what he’s done over the years. Obviously some remarkable things throughout his time. But I think what he’s done and brought to Kansas City has been remarkable as well. Coming from an Eagles fan, I wish him all the best and I’m definitely rooting for him and I hope that things go well. Because he did do some fantastic things for us in Philly. I wish him all the best.
Poff: I would just say, Andy, I thought you did a great job here. Sorry you couldn’t win a Super Bowl here, but I’m really rooting for you and hope you can win one there.
Dunphy: We got ours, now go get yours.
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