After every season fans of the most teams clamor for the head coach to be fired. Is this really the right course of action? Seems like more often that team goes into a tailspin without continuity; in the worst cases it’s change the coach, change the quarterback, rinse, lather and repeat. For a case in point, consider the Philadelphia Eagles.

I keep hearing Philadelphia fans (I have several as co-workers) keep saying that Andy Reid had to go, and their proof is that he did not win a Super Bowl. Okay, I get the fact that it’s all about winning a championship and that the trophy is the goal. What is being overlooked is the stark reality that it is really, really hard to win a Super Bowl, or any sports championship. There are 32 teams; that means you should on average only see your team win a championship once every three decades!

Part of the logic in justifying the dismissal of Reid (and many other NFL coaches) is that ‘there was so much talent, he should have done better’. Oh, really? Where was the talent on the offensive line, because I didn’t see any. Philly fans point to the loss to Tampa Bay as the tipping point, but look at that team: the top playmakers were Todd Pinkston, James Thrash and Duce Staley. Now there was talent on defense (Hugh Douglas, Troy Vincent, Brian Dawkins), but that Tampa bay defense was better, in fact one of the best in NFL history; offensively the Bucs had put pieces together that made them much better than the Tony Dungy teams. Just because Tampa Bay had lost to the Eagles often in the past, that’s no reason to presume the Eagles were better that year – because they weren’t.

Now here is something for Philly fans, and fans of every other team that calls for the head coach’s head to consider: maybe the team is overachieving, not underachieving. Maybe the personnel are just not as good as that of some other teams. Maybe some teams, including good team, lose every year. For every winner there is that team that comes close, be it the Chargers of 2004-09, the Browns of 1985-88 – or the Eagles of 2000-10.

Be careful what you wish for, because while your city did not host a championship parade, your decision to fire the coach may send your team into a Detroit Lions type tailspin. The Buffalo Bills lost four super Bowls and people thought that was awful; those are glory years in comparison to the last 13 seasons. For every championship won with a coaching change there are dozens of such changes that don’t result in a trophy.

Did the Eagles need to make a change? After the last two years, yes; but let’s not re-write history and say that he was awful for the franchise or that someone (or anyone) else would have won Super Bowls in Philadelphia.

 

 

This Day In Patriots History

 

January 8, 1983:
Steve Gregory was born in Brooklyn. The former Charger played quite well in front of his hometown crowd on Thanksgiving night when he had two fumble recoveries, an interception, five tackles, and a deflected pass in the 49-19 win over the Jets (aka the Sanchez Butt Fumble Game).

 

January 8, 1983:
Miami Dolphins 28, New England Patriots 13 at the Orange Bowl

The Patriots lost their 15th consecutive game in the Orange Bowl, this time in the wild card round of the playoffs, to end their 1982 season. The last time the Pats won in South Florida Lyndon Johnson was the President. It was the first playoff appearance for the Patriots since 1978, which was the final game of the Chuck Fairbanks era.

The Miami defense was too much for the Pats, limiting them to 14 1st downs and 237 net yards of offense while forcing three turnovers and recording four sacks. Though the Pats defense forced three turnovers of their own – two fumble recoveries by Rick Sanford and one by Keith Lee – the offense couldn’t get much going, twice settling for field goals by John Smith. For the game the pats were able to run of just 48 offensive plays while Miami, who went on the win the AFC championship, had nearly that many running plays (45) and 64 plays total. About the only offense came from the tight end position: Don Hasselbeck had seven catches for 87 yards (including a 22-yard touchdown in the 4th quarter), and Lin Dawson had four catches for 49 yards.

A bit of trivia: Mark van Eeghen became the first player to run and catch a pass in a playoff game in his career for the Patriots, and also do the same against the Patriots. The Colgate grad had nine rushes and one reception in this game; he also had 11 carries and one reception in the infamous Ben Dreith game for Oakland in 1976.

 

January 8, 1986:
Coggins vs New England Patriots
Long time New England Patriots fan David Coggins brought Billy Sullivan to court, seeking a sought rescission of a freeze-out merger enacted by the football club. When the Pats were originally formed by Sullivan in 1959 shares of stock in the club were sold in order to raise money.

In 1974 the other owners removed Sullivan from his presidency but by November of 1975, after securing a personal loan for over $5 million, Sullivan owned all 100,000 voting shares (at $102 per share) and put in his own directors. The loan required Sullivan to use the corporation’s profits and assets to repay the loan, but he could not do this without complete ownership. What Sullivan did was this: he created a second corporation; appointed the same directors; then voted to merge the two companies into the new one, with the shareholders of the old company to receive $15 per share.

Coggins (and others) were forced to sell their shares per the terms of the merger; he asserted that the directors violated their fiduciary duties when they voted while holding directorships for both companies.

The court held that the merger was indeed unfair and illegal, but they also said that since the merger was now ten years old it should not be reversed. Eventually the case made its way to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, which decided that the merger (and elimination of minority shareholders) was illegal and for Sullivan’s personal benefit; they declared that Coggins and the other minority shareholders should be paid based on the current (1986) value.

Two years later Sullivan was facing bankruptcy and sold the team to Victor Kiam. The stadium lease however went into bankruptcy court – and was purchased by one Robert Kraft. That purchase eventually led to his becoming owner of the franchise.

 

January 8, 1993:
Dick MacPherson was fired as head coach of the Patriots, two years and a day after accepting the position; he had three years remaining on his contract.

MacPherson – who had spent the previous ten years as head coach of Syracuse University – took over a 1-15 team and instilled life and enthusiasm, going a surprising 6-10 in his first year. However the club went 2-14 in his second season, including an 0-9 start. After the first eight games MacPherson was hospitalized with acute diverticulitis; it required surgery that kept him from his job until the final game.

Dante Scarnecchia, the special teams and tight ends coach, filled in as the head coach during MacPherson’s absence.

 

 

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January 8, 1935:
Elvis Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi

January 8, 1937:
Shirley Bassey, singer of the James Bond theme songs Goldfinger and Diamonds are Forever, was born in Wales

January 8, 1946:
Robby Krieger, guitar player for the Doors was born in Los Angeles; little known fact is that he wrote many of the band’s best songs, such as Light My Fire, Love Her Madly, Touch Me, and Love Me Two Times

January 8, 1947:
David Bowie was born in Brixton

January 8, 1969:
R. Kelly was born in Chicago

January 8, 1991:
Guitar player Steve Clark of Def Lepard died after a night of heavy partying.

 

 

 

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