There is no question that of all of the things the Eagles have to offer their next head coach -- great facilities, a tremendous fan base, a huge media market, a young roster and assets beyond those -- the most enticing is Jeffrey Lurie himself.
We live in an age where Owners are a visible part of the show and, in some cases, where Owners pry into personnel matters, where they gum up the works via the media and generally don't have the patience required to give a coach a chance to live out his plans.
No doubt that as Andy Reid's 14 years played out as the head coach here, word made its way around the league about the benefits of working for Jeffrey Lurie. The path wasn't always smooth in those 14 seasons, for sure, and there are some Owners who may have given up on Reid long before a 4-12 season in 2012 made it inevitable.
You have to understand that the coaching community is extraordinarily tight and that reputations make their way through the ranks very quickly. Lurie has demonstrated during his time as the Chairman/CEO here that he is as supportive as they come, and that if you are a coach here, you have all the resources at your disposal that you desire.
"I’m very confident that this is the most attractive place for a head coach to work in the National Football League," said Lurie. "Other teams can argue the same thing, but I am very confident that we have an incredible fan base. There are incredible fan bases in a few other cities, maybe many other cities. This one’s amazing. They want what we want and that’s an obsession not just to be good, but to be great and that’s big.
"This is a huge media market; prime-time games. If you want to be at the forefront of NFL in America, this is a top-four, top-five media market. That’s great. Facilities, about the best facilities in the National Football League. History of an owner-coach relationship, I think virtually unmatched. I think that the resources, any coach coming here knows there’s no limitation on the resources in any direction, financial or otherwise, that’s put towards the football program. Everyone knows that in the league.
"I think that a winning culture, to come into an organization that is used to winning, used to winning big and it’s part of the mantra and the culture in an organization, that’s huge because when Andy came, we had to change the culture, turn it around and that’s a much harder job. This job is taking a culture that exists.
"There’s been some negative turns in the performance of the team, especially this season and last, and I think that it’s ripe for a real smart, forward-thinking coach who wants to get his hand on a great situation. To me, this is the best situation for a coach to look at.”
Behind the scenes, in ways you don't know, Reid gives a coach everything he needs. A huge scouting budget. Big numbers of assistant coaches. Large allowances to hire quality coordinators and position coaches. Freedom to set up the football program as the head coach wishes.
The Eagles spend money in free agency, and they invest in the draft. They make sure that a head coach has every technological advantage known to the league and there is no daily facility that outflanks the NovaCare Complex.
That the team attracts a great fan base in and out of Philadelphia is part of the sales pitch, too, as well as the star power of the fourth-largest media market, the history of playoffs under Lurie's guidance and the belief that the current roster has a solid, young base.
But Lurie is the biggest draw. He isn't going to undercut a coach. He is going to have, from the very first day, a trusting, supportive relationship. That isn't necessarily the way it is around the NFL, as you may have noticed by now. There are a lot of Owners who have their media agenda, and who have their meddling ways and who are known for their notoriously short fuses.
Not Lurie. Oh, he's going to be demanding and he's going to be hyper-focused and he's going to be 100 percent devoted to the cause, but he's going to do all of that in a nurturing, supportive manner.
The process is already under way, as Lurie and his search team -- one that includes team president Don Smolenski and general manager Howie Roseman -- have a list and will soon hit the road and start meeting candidates face to face. It's a lengthy list, and Lurie told me he has no preference whether the next head coach is an offensive-minded coach or one from the defensive side of the ball, or whether he is from college or the NFL.
Lurie wants the best leader he can find, a coach who has a long-term vision for success. There is no better sales pitch than Jeffrey Lurie, the front man of the organization as it looks to get the football team back on the right track on the road to a Super Bowl.