Gonzo: Reid's mind-blowing quarterback sneak

"This is what I think is right," Andy Reid said of naming Michael Vick as his starting quarterback. (Ron Cortes/Staff file photo)

The Eagles are a like a mash-up of bad cable-network slogans. They know drama, and they're very funny.

You can decide for yourself, but the evidence points toward the joke end of that spectrum.

Compared with the Birds, the Jets - with their mouthy proclamations and HBO series and early-morning DWIs - are football's version of Ambien. Their production features sad, cliched story lines that have played out on grass- and turf-covered stages for ages. This thing the Eagles have put together is something altogether different and original. Andy Reid has created a grand comedy of errors with no equal.

Let's review Reid's latest killer material. A few days ago, Reid said Kevin Kolb would be the starting quarterback. Then, on Tuesday - as the sun set, along with what's left of the Birds sanity and logic and trustworthiness - Reid and the Eagles reversed themselves and announced that all that stuff they said earlier was essentially a lie because Michael Vick is the starter now. George Carlin never busted as many guts as Reid did with that punch line.

This thing is beyond bizarre in so many ways. Not long ago, the Eagles traded the face of the franchise for more than a decade to a division rival. Donovan McNabb's time here was up, we were told, because after serving as an apprentice for three years, Kevin Kolb's time had begun. During the off-season and training camp, the Birds chirped about how confident and comfortable they were with Kolb. He was hailed as accurate and as a leader, a man who possessed all the qualities they were looking for at quarterback - for today and tomorrow.

Now they believe something else. Reid said his flip-flop was forced by Vick's exceptional and unanticipated play. And maybe it was to an extent. But whether you like Vick or believe in his abilities as a quarterback doesn't matter. That's too narrow a focus at the moment; with or without Vick, it seems unlikely the Eagles will win a Super Bowl this season, which renders the point moot.

It's only after you widen the lens and pull back that you see the Birds have just delayed their own long-term plans - the very plans they held up as necessary and smart not even six months ago - in order to execute an impromptu strategy that likely won't end the franchise's 50-year drought any quicker.

You have to wonder about that sort of logic. Reid said he had the full support of the organization when he made the (re)switch to Vick. If that's true, maybe the conventional wisdom about Reid and Joe Banner and the rest was wrong all along. We've long thought of them as arrogant and bright, but maybe they're just indecisive and clueless and dysfunctional.

"This is what I think is right," Reid said, failing to add that he thought something else was right just a few days ago. Reid went on to assure everyone that Kolb's "day will come here." He actually said that out loud, in front of people who took notes and recorded it, without any acknowledgment of how absurd it sounded.

His day will come, Andy? You must mean his day will come again. That's a key word, and you conveniently left it out.

It generally takes presidential hubris to manipulate the truth so well and boldly. Reid told us McNabb would be his quarterback in 2010. Then he shipped Five to D.C. He told us Kolb was his quarterback, then he sent Vick out to keep Kolb company in the huddle for the first play of the season. He told us again (and again and again and again) that Kolb was still his quarterback after he suffered a concussion. Reid was even condescending about it when reporters tried to pour concrete around his position so he couldn't once more wiggle free of his words.

"Well, let me say it again," Reid reiterated. "I know I'm using poor English. Kevin Kolb is the No. 1 quarterback," said Reid.

Is he now?

How Kolb or the other Eagles or anyone else can take Reid at his word is the operative and unanswered question. If you worked for a man who routinely looks people in the eye and tells them something, only to look them in the eye shortly thereafter and tell them something entirely different, would you feel secure about your gig? Reid said "the future is bright with Kevin Kolb." That probably makes Kolb feel much better. Now that Reid has put his mind at ease, the quarterback can rest his head on the pillow and dream happy thoughts about rainbows and unicorns and the wild, still-unexplored "future."

"A young quarterback is going to take time to grow. . . . This was an odd situation," Reid explained.

The last part is the only thing Reid said that you can believe.

Contact John Gonzalez at 215-854-2813 or gonzalez@phillynews.com. Follow him on Twitter: www.twitter.com/gonzophilly.