Now in their 10th year together, Andy Reid and Joe Banner seem like a part of the furniture around here -- you know, the comfortable chair whose arm you occasionally smash down upon in frustration. It is familiar and comfortable and a little bit battered. You cannot remember what the room looked like without it.
With that, consider the Detroit Lions and the Oakland Raiders.
Consider the costs of the mistakes they have made.
After years and years of stinkification, the Lions finally got rid of Matt Millen this morning as their boss. At least, that is the report on foxsports.com. They did it after the owner's son -- like his father, he is a man named Ford who has run the self-same car company -- went public with his displeasure. The time that franchise has wasted is criminal, and you don't need to tell the people of Detroit that fact. But they picked the wrong guy at the top -- and when you do that in the NFL, you put yourself into a hell that deepens with the day. You cannot get out of it until you get the guy out of it. In the meantime, you just die a little more, and then you die a little more again.
Compare to Reid and Banner. There is frustration sometimes, and anger sometimes, yes. But, honestly.
Oakland is different but the same. Crazy Al Davis continues to do crazy things -- this year's version leaves the Raiders with a head coach, Lane Kiffen, who apparently has to check on an hourly basis if he is still on the payroll. It is a ridiculous situation, with an organization apparently conspiring against itself. Their fans are proud to be insane and Davis apparently is proud to follow them. And the franchise sinks.
Compare, again, to Reid and Banner. I am not going to argue that there never have been political struggles within the Eagles, spoken and unspoken, because that is the nature of organizational behavior. Stuff like that does happen on the margins because, well, it does. But I never have had the sense that these two very powerful guys did not support each other, and that they were working together to try to get it right.
There are probably some of you sitting there saying that it isn't any great accomplishment to be better than the Lions or the Raiders, and that Reid and Banner deserve no special praise for being better than the worst. That's fine and true. But the Eagles had significant problems before Jeffrey Lurie bought the team. When Leonard Tose was the owner, his life was a financial circus -- and it held them back as a franchise. They had a significant split between the football side and the front office side when Buddy Ryan was coach and Norman Braman was owner, and while it made for terrific theater, it held them back again (besides leading to Rich Kotite and the free-agent exodus of Reggie White and the rest).
The Eagles were Detroit. The Eagles were Oakland. We forget.