I believe in cycles. I believe things come full circle. So let me throw this at you:
People have long clamored for the Eagles to revert back to the days of Buddy Ryan–a coach who told it to you straight, with a defense that would first intimidate and then dominate an opponent. Not to mention they wore kelly green.
It’s been well-noted that despite his complete lack of postseason success, fans adored Ryan because he always went after the Cowboys–a team full of prestige, glitz, glamour and hype.
He hated everything about Dallas. And he’d do anything to stick it to them–bounties, fake kneel downs, running up the score, trash talk, whatever.
That was Philadelphia football.
And while Andy Reid’s tenure began with a defense far ahead of its offense, the identity of this team has dramatically shifted from one of grit to one of finesse. And it’s one of many reasons the winningest coach in franchise history has fallen out of a favor with an increasingly agitated fanbase.
Reid has undoubtedly had regular season success in Philadelphia, handled Dallas, and enjoyed a far greater deal of playoff success than Ryan ever did. Yet, people have longed for a return to the days of Ryan. You know, less Jarrad Page, more Andre Waters. And while it still seems incomprehensible to some, if Reid can’t run his record to 13-0 after the bye week and figure out a way to knock off Dallas this weekend, he could very well be one step closer to being shown the front door.
Given Buddy Ryan’s disdain for the Cowboys, it’s ironic that his son Rob landed in Dallas as their defensive coordinator. It seems almost blasphemous. But true to his father’s nature, he wasted little time stirring the pot in this rivalry.
You can likely recall him reffering to the Eagles as the “all-hype team” during training camp.
You can probably recall Michael Vick’s confident retort.
You can probably recall wanting to personally kick Rob Ryan’s ass after his remarks.
But wait a minute. Why? Isn’t this what we loved so much about football in this city twenty-some years ago?
And I think this is the part where we should pause. Because sometime this summer the Eagles officially became the team to envy–the team with the glitz, glamour and hype.
And there he was–a Ryan calling out a division rival from halfway across the country, promising to stick it to ‘em.
How’s that for a role reversal?
What’s worse, only two months later Ryan looks a lot closer to being right about the Eagles than he does wrong. And so with the Eagles on life support amidst the backdrop of a terrible start and one of their most high-profile players blasting the front office, Ryan now gets the chance to stick out his tongue and say “I told you so” with a win on Sunday night.
Given the way this season has gone in Philadelphia, it would be fitting for Ryan to go blitz-happy, confuse Michael Vick, and toss the final shovels of dirt on what would be one of the most disappointing football seasons in this city’s tortured history.
What’s more, it could be Ryan’s son who gets those fans foaming at the mouth for Reid’s departure, one very large step closer to their wish.