The football fan in all of us has heard the phrase 'Once a Raider, always a Raider' a few times. We've never heard anyone say 'Once someone plays for the Philadelphia Eagles, they'll always be an Eagle', but we have all kept a close watch on former Birds when they move on and/or play somewhere else. Raise your hand if you only watch FS1's Speak because LeSean McCoy and Emmanuel Acho are two of the analysts. Yep! That's what we thought!
Dhani Jones isn't in the Eagles Hall of Fame. Truth be told, he probably never will be, but before Brandon Graham rocked the Number 55 jersey for a decade and a half, there was the guy in the bowtie. We lived to watch him play his imaginary piano after making big plays.
Jones, who like B.G., cut his collegiate teeth at Michigan with the Wolverines. He also played under, now Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. Recently, some of our FanSided family sat with Jones in Las Vegas ahead of Super Bowl LVII and asked him a question Birds fans have pondered for a while.
What makes Andy Reid's Super Bowl formula so successful?
Many Eagles fans are on opposite sides of the fences about this one. Are we happy for Andy Reid and the success he has had with the Chiefs or are we envious because he never won the big game while wearing the Midnight Green?
That debate still rages. One thing is certain though. You have to tip your cap and acknowledge what he has accomplished. What's the secret sauce? Why didn't it work in the City of Brotherly Love? Dhani offered an intriguing answer.
"I think he's always had his routine. I think he's always had his strategy. It's kind of like a person that has their own business, an entrepreneur. You have your formula. You believe in your formula because you know your formula works. You stick to your formula. Now, you make a couple of adjustments here or there, but you have to be a little stubborn in the way you're running your organization... I think Andy has been reticent and resilient... When he was in Philadelphia, the formula stopped in the NFC Championship (Games). In Kansas City, he's carried things over into the Super Bowl."
Jones credits K.C,'s success on defense to 'Spags', but he also mentioned the blueprint for his genius was laid by the late, great Jim Johnson. That ought to make every Birds fan smile. Spagnuolo was Jones' linebacker coach when Dhani was in Philly, but as the 'other Number 55' states, Spags took his cues from the master of the blitz.
Jones says it best.
"These coaches trace back to a coaching tree. Andy has a coaching tree. Steven has a coaching tree, but a lot of things are traced back to people that have taught you".
May Jim Johnson continue to rest in peace. Heck, may both the Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers lose in the Super Bowl (Yeah, we're still a little salty). Here's to the 2024 NFL season.
What can we say? Once an Eagle, always an Eagle. It's great to see Dhani is still... well... being Dhani, but i's even more awesome to know he still bleeds midnight green-tinged blood.