Andy, time's yours.

Three years, to be exact.

That may seem like an eternity for a contract, but in the NFL it is not - especially for a coach about to enter his 13th season without a championship.

While the consensus is that Andy Reid coaches the Eagles as long as the current ownership group is in place, for the first time ever the idea of his no longer manning the podium at the NovaCare Complex to deliver his trademark phrase is a very real possibility.

Andy, time's ticking.

 Since the end of the 2009 season, Reid's actions and that of the front office have revealed as much. But two recent firings - one of his own doing and the other a possible foretelling - suggest that Reid's foothold isn't as sturdy as it was once.

Sean McDermott was as much a progeny of Reid as any of his assistants. While he adopted the young intern from the previous regime, Reid considered McDermott one of his own and would groom him to one day be a defensive coordinator. That is what he became - perhaps a little earlier than expected - when Jim Johnson died in July 2009.

Despite signs that McDermott was not yet ready for the job, Reid stood behind his young coordinator throughout a topsy-turvy season and right up until the day after a first-round playoff loss. Three days later, McDermott was fired.

There were signs earlier in the season that McDermott was on the chopping block. An ESPN NFL reporter went on the radio in October and said as much. A few weeks later, Reid, in a rare behind-the-scenes moment, scoffed at the notion and the accuracy of the reporter.

McDermott's defense at the time had rebounded briefly, but the Eagles' brass had already become wary of the 36-year-old. The unit's handful of problems resurfaced down the stretch and a once promising season ended abruptly. There was enough there to ask if McDermott would be back.

Reid said, "Yeah." But something changed over the next 72 hours. A team source said that Reid had already made up his mind by his season-ending news conference, and was just buying time. But his words in support of McDermott were emphatic.

Reid has final say on all football matters, the Eagles' front office has said repeatedly. But that does not mean owner Jeffrey Lurie, team president Joe Banner, and general manager Howie Roseman don't influence his decisions.

Look at the three most significant departures over the last year:

General manager Tom Heckert left to take the same position at Cleveland, conveniently under Reid friend and mentor Mike Holmgren. Quarterback Donovan McNabb was traded to Washington - then considered a much friendlier landing spot than other possible destinations. And McDermott was given a two-day head start and conveniently was hired for the same job by friend and former colleague, and new Panthers head coach, Ron Rivera.

These were Reid's guys and while a case could be made that each deserved to go, the coach obviously had to be coaxed into cutting the cords.

Andy, time's expiring.

 All things must end, and after 16 seasons the Titans finally parted ways with coach Jeff Fisher on Thursday. With Fisher's firing Reid is now the longest-tenured coach in the NFL. While the two have been compared because of their longevity and their one winless trip to the Super Bowl, Reid has produced more playoff-bound teams.

At Fisher's farewell news conference he looked like a beaten-down man. The 52-year-old said he needed a break. Reid is also 52, and at some point a man of his size is going to have to make some life alterations or else.

Still, his staff continues to be amazed by his energy. This past season, with a team infused with youth, he seemed rejuvenated. But he was also prone to rapid mood swings unlike any seen before during his tenure. He was ebullient after victories over the Colts and Giants, red-faced and livid following losses against the Bears and Vikings.

Reid coached as if there were something more to lose than just the games.

How else do you explain the calculated coach's decision to bench quarterback Kevin Kolb for Michael Vick after just one game? It was probably the right decision, but it was so uncharacteristic.

That is why Reid hasn't rushed to hire a replacement for McDermott. He needs to find a coordinator as effective as Johnson, one that he can entrust with almost sole responsibility over the defense.

When Johnson was in charge, Reid could spend more time tinkering with his offense. Last season, though, he had to stick his beak over McDermott's shoulder more than ever, and that took away from the high-powered offense he had constructed.

Reid knows that with almost any of Johnson's defenses, the Eagles would have been a likely Super Bowl team this past season. Now he has to find a successor as good.

Because if the Eagles set a franchise record for points for the fourth straight season but finish 10-6 again and this time miss the playoffs because of a subpar defense, Reid could be the next under the guillotine.

Andy, time's up.

Contact staff writer Jeff McLane at 215-854-4745 or jmclane@phillynews.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Jeff_McLane.