Why Did the Philadelphia Eagles Fire Andy Reid?

Why did the Philadelphia Eagles fire Andy Reid in 2012? We revisit their decision to let go of their head coach of 14 years and his coaching record.

The Kansas City Chiefs made a franchise-altering move on Jan. 7, 2013.

That was the day the team hired Andy Reid to lead them moving forward as head coach. Many praised the hire as the Chiefs sank to 2-14 in 2012 and needed to re-establish an identity. Since then, Reid has spearheaded three Super Bowl appearances and earned two Vince Lombardi Trophies in the process.

But the move to land Reid would’ve never been made possible if it weren’t for a bold decision made by the Philadelphia Eagles. Reid spent 14 years with the franchise as the Eagles’ head coach from 1999 through 2012. Yet, despite winning 140 games in Philadelphia, Reid was eventually fired.

Let’s go back in time ahead of the Chiefs’ Thursday Night Showdown vs. the Denver Broncos and revisit why the Eagles fired Reid in 2012.

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Why Did the Philadelphia Eagles Fire Andy Reid?

Including the playoffs, Reid posted a 140-102-1 record in all his seasons with Philadelphia. He was an unconventional hire to begin with, earning a promotion as the Green Bay Packers quarterbacks coach with zero play-calling experience to the Eagles head coach. Yet, his work with future NFL Hall of Famer Brett Favre helped spark the hire.

Reid’s first season went just 5-11, but he quickly saw improvement in 2000 as second-year quarterback Donovan McNabb took over the offense. Reid quickly led the Eagles to five straight playoff appearances from 2000-2004. He won 59 regular-season games in that span, but there was significant postseason pain involved as well.

Philadelphia lost three straight NFC Championship Games before making the 2004 Super Bowl, in which they lost 24-21 against Tom Brady’s New England Patriots.

Despite having the sixth-best record in the NFL across his Eagles tenure, Reid earned a reputation for poor clock management, leading to opportunities for opponents to win close games late. His offenses also stalled in key playoff games, including a combined seven points in each of their three NFC Championship losses.

Still, Reid was a main cog of the many high moments throughout his tenure, and the franchise was a relatively stable presence in the playoffs. Philadelphia finished with a .500 or better record in 11 of Reid’s 14 seasons and made the playoffs nine times.

Most franchises would sign up for that stability in a heartbeat. But eventually, things became stale, and the franchise wanted a fresh, new voice to remake the roster.

The Eagles went just 12-20 over Reid’s final two seasons, and the offense lost its luster as quarterback Michael Vick was clearly in decline.

The split was far from hostile, though. Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie praised Reid following the announcement of his firing, and Reid was given the opportunity to speak to his players. Reid had just lost his son, Garrett, to a heroin overdose the previous summer before their 4-12 campaign.

Though Reid completed the season after the tragedy, it’s clear his family had gone through an awful ordeal and change could benefit both parties.

Andy Reid during the second half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. The Eagles won 23-21.
December 9, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid during the second half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. The Eagles won 23-21.

Everything culminated into it being the right time for the Eagles and Reid to part ways. Philadelphia had been tied to former Oregon Ducks head coach Chip Kelly before Reid was fired, and eventually, the Eagles hired the hottest coaching candidate on the market.

The talent on Philadelphia’s roster just wasn’t the same as in Reid’s earlier years. The offense had explosive playmakers in running back LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, and Jeremy Maclin, but the defense became too dependent on sacks to be average. Sometimes early success can lead to a loss of patience.

Reid was a very good coach for the Eagles but couldn’t get over the Super Bowl hump or sustain a quality second breath after the McNabb era was over.

Reid’s Coaching Record

Despite interest from the Arizona Cardinals and speculation he could get closer to home with the then-San Diego Chargers, Reid eventually landed in Kansas City after being let go.

MORE: Andy Reid Coaching Tree

He traded for 49ers quarterback Alex Smith and relied upon a run-heavy approach with Jamaal Charles as the Chiefs immediately transformed into a winning team. Spending five seasons in Kansas City, Smith led the Chiefs to 50 wins before being replaced by Patrick Mahomes.

In 2021, Reid became the first NFL head coach with 100 wins for two different franchises. Working with arguably the most talented quarterback of all time in Mahomes has given the 64-year-old new life. The pairing won their first Super Bowl together in 2019, and Super Bowl 57 is their third together.

If Reid continues to coach and can win one or two more, we’ll have to discuss where Reid lands on the head coaching Mount Rushmore. As of now, he now owns 251 regular-season wins to just 139 losses and one tie. Additionally, Reid has a 21-16 postseason record and four total Super Bowl appearances. He’s 2-2 overall in the big game.

He currently has the 2023 Chiefs at 4-1 overall, making it two seasons in a row that his team has started out with that mark through the first five games of the season.

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