Chairman/CEO Jeffrey Lurie always thinks of "Black Monday" as his least favorite day on the NFL calendar. Typically, Lurie is watching the news pour in from around the league regarding coaches who have been relieved of their duties.
On this "Black Monday," Lurie wasn't so much watching the events unfold. He was front and center. For the first time in 14 years, the Eagles were a part of the "Black Monday" proceedings as Andy Reid was dismissed as head coach of the team following a 4-12 campaign that ended with a 42-7 loss at the hands of the New York Giants on Sunday.
In his first public address since the start of the season, Lurie revealed that he had been "heavily leaning" towards parting ways with the winningest coach in franchise history over the past month. When Lurie addressed reporters prior to the season, Lurie said that another 8-8 season, like the one the team had in 2011, would be unacceptable. Lurie strongly considered making a coaching change at this time last year, but banked on history to repeat itself. During his tenure as head coach, Reid bounced back from non-playoff seasons with double-digit win totals and a return to the postseason.
That didn't happen in 2012. And at 9 AM on Monday morning, Lurie met with Reid and let him know that his time with the team was up. The Eagles started 3-1 in 2012, but lost eight straight games to be eliminated from playoff contention and erase any chance of improving upon last year's win total. Lurie tried to put a finger on what happened and said it's "complicated" when trying to explain why the team was not able to improve.
"I think if you had to point to anything; it's when you've had as much success as we've had and are so close to winning a Super Bowl at some stage you have an opportunity to think that the next move, even if it's not consistent with all of your previous moves, will be the one that gives you the chance to win the Lombardi Trophy," Lurie said. "I think that in the last year or so, last couple of years, we've done things that have not been as consistent. They've been more scattered in terms of decision-making."
Lurie said that he did meet with Reid last Friday to discuss what plans he would have for the team if he did return as head coach. Lurie described Reid as energized and excited about the future of the team. Lurie did not offer Reid a personnel job with the team because he knows that Reid is a football coach first. Reid's assistants remain with the Eagles and are conducting player evaluations this week. The assistants will have the opportunity to interview for new jobs, but also have a chance to stay with the new head coach when that person is hired.
Despite the team's struggles, Lurie remained consistent and stayed behind the scenes to allow the season to play out. He understood the frustration that was felt by the fans and wants them to know he is committed to doing everything possible to get the franchise back on track as quickly as possible.
"I don't speak a lot, but I care deeply. I will do everything possible to turn away from the downturn and turn it around by people you surround yourself with," Lurie said. "There's nobody who wants to win more than I do. Once you've experienced the success we've had with the division titles and all of that stuff. It makes you just realize that there's nothing more that you want than a Super Bowl and deliver that for our fans. That's the important thing."
"Black Monday" was difficult because Lurie parted ways with "not only an outstanding coach, but an outstanding person" in Reid, who will one day be inducted into the team's Hall of Fame.
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