Some final thoughts on the departure of Joe Banner as Eagles president:
As others have noted, the idea that Banner just got tired of running the Eagles is absurd. If there is one thing I've been sure of over the 10 years that I've covered this team, beyond the certainty that every Monday morning news conference was going to begin with the listing of injuries, it's that Joe Banner lived to carry the Lombardi Trophy down to the WIP studios and invite Angelo Cataldi to kiss it. And maybe kiss something else, as well.
(His Super Bowl ring, of course. What did you think I meant? Geez.)
Why would Banner abandon that quest? I'm stunned that he would, but I can think of a few reasons. One, the ascension of his one-time protege, Howie Roseman, left Joe with a much more circumscribed role than he enjoyed several years ago. That part of Banner wanting a new challenge rings true. And I do believe that Andy Reid moved to further limit Banner's power, as Reid grew weary of dealing with the locker room fallout from Banner's negotiating style. I absolutely believe Reid felt the DeSean Jackson debacle of 2011 was less of a reflection on Jackson than on the Eagles.
Even with all that, I'm still surprised that Banner stepped aside, given that Reid doesn't have a contract beyond 2013, and is thought to need a really good 2012, if not a Super Bowl title, to get another deal. Leaving after 18 years because you lost a power struggle with someone who might not be here come next February doesn't make much sense.
Which leads me to a thought that is strictly my own, wasn't whispered by anyone down at NovaCare. What if Banner doesn't think Reid is going away anytime soon, AND doesn't think the Reid-Michael Vick nexus is ever going to win the Eagles a Super Bowl? As I noted the first time I wrote about this, we are more that three years down the road from Joe's weary "definition of instanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results" speech in a hallway in Arizona after the January 2009 NFC Championship Game. It was an ambiguous statement, widely applied to Donovan McNabb at the time. I'm not at all sure he was just talking about Donovan.
It was Joe, and only Joe, who indicated last year that Reid needed to win a Super Bowl to get a new contract. What if he came to realize that Roseman and Lurie were more reluctant than Joe might have been to spin the coaching wheel? There is no obvious savior waiting in the wings, no hotshot young assistant ready to take over. John Harbaugh got away a long time ago.
Right now, in the wake of the Banner departure, we don't really know if we are living in Andyworld or Howieworld. If Reid gets any kind of contract extension between now and the end of the season, we'll have our answer: It's Andyworld. If no Reid deal is forthcoming, and it becomes apparent that Reid's 2012 outcome will indeed determine whether he gets that new contract, welcome to Howieworld. The next coach will be Roseman's guy.
Remember, Jeffrey Lurie, in his anguished postseason address, sounded almost ready to fire Reid, but when reporters asked about Roseman -- who certainly had a lot to do with all the silly Ronnie Brown and Steve Smith-type signings last summer, not to mention some poor draft decisions -- Lurie got indignant. He made it clear that Roseman was not in any sort of trouble.
That's why I kinda think it might be Howieworld. And I'd love to know what Howie really thinks of Reid.