[L]osing the fans is one thing, and not a new one. ("Fire Andy" has been a common refrain on message boards for many years, almost as common as "Trade Donovan" for most of them.) This year, this week, this morning, Andy Reid lost the media. It's not known as widely as it should be, but Reid "had" the media in the same sense that Kim Jong-Il does--through fear and threat. His press conferences are charades of ignored questions and refused answers. In violation of NFL rules, he refuses to make his assistant coaches available after games.Should a writer be critical of the team in a non-team-approved fashion, he's out. When former Inquirer writer John Gonzalez moved to CSNPhilly.com over the summer, the Eagles approached Comcast and made clear they didn't want Gonzo covering the Eagles in any fashion. Left unsaid: do it or all of CSN's access will suffer. So Gonzalez is off the Eagles beat, and the only person who'd even report the bullying was a gossip columnist. Not for nothing, today's two Reid-bashing pieces came from a national writer and a columnist, folks who don't have to worry about being banned from the locker room.It's not surprising Reid's survived this long. He's a good coach, whose teams have won more often than not. His players love his act, since it shields them. ("There's nobody to blame but me," he said yesterday.) And through none of his own doing, he himself was shielded for many years by a more public face of the organization: Donovan McNabb. McNabb was the Andy Reid of quarterbacking. Good, sometimes great, could have been even better. Being the field general, he naturally took the lion's share of the criticism. Whenever the Eagles were eliminated, the debate would begin anew: someone's got to go, but which one? The Eagles made the prudent decision shipping out McNabb, who had passed his physical prime.But was it folly to think that Reid was ever going to change his ways? To find out once and for all, the Eagles braintrust brought in a test and an ultimatum in the form of Michael Vick and his huge contract.
"I'm exploiting the maximum of what you can ask a piece of metal to do."