PHILADELPHIA — If you are wondering how, precisely, did this disaster of a season happen, well the blame can be put on Andy Reid. After all, he is the head coach.
Or, the fault can be traced back to former Raiders owner Al Davis.
Remember, the eccentric Davis plucked Jon Gruden, who was the offensive coordinator with the Eagles in 1998, to be his head coach in Oakland.
Later that year, Ray Rhodes was fired by Jeff Lurie. Then, the Eagles owner hired Reid to coach beginning the next season in 1999.
So, blame Davis for this mess of a season.
If Al never hired Gruden and, say rehired John Madden instead, well, "Chucky" would've been available to become the next head coach after the 1998 season.
Instead, Gruden was in the ESPN TV booth as an analyst for Monday night's 30-22 meltdown to Carolina at Lincoln Financial Field. Ironically, that was a seat Madden used to occupy.
And Reid coached his seventh straight loss, crashing to a 3-8 record. The Eagles' latest loss with all the same causes was filled with as many Hollywood twists as offsides penalties by Todd Bowles' dumb defense.
Really, Reid on the sideline in his 14th season of a job Gruden would've had if Davis didn't reach on a 35-year-old. And, then, Gruden in the booth looking down on the job he can have if he wants it.
Lurie will make a coaching change at the end of this disaster of a season. Lurie almost pulled the switch at the end of last season's 8-8 underachievement.
The best Reid can finish now is 8-8 and Lurie already said before the season that another .500 record "isn't good enough." So, Reid is gone.
The question is, can Lurie finally get his man in Gruden? Well, the conventional thinking is Gruden will coach again in the NFL.
He did win his Super Bowl already with Tampa Bay in 2003 against - ironically - the Raiders, to become the youngest head coach to hold the Vince Lombardi trophy at the tender age of 39.
So, for Lurie not to have at least poked Gruden a bit before the game to gauge his interest would've been as silly as Reid hiring his former offensive line coach Juan Castillo to be his defensive coordinator.
Although Gruden signed an extension with ESPN last year, the door is always open for him to take an NFL head job.
Perhaps Gruden liked what he saw against Carolina with rookie running back Bryce Brown looking like LeSean McCoy.
But the reality is the same problems - starting with the over-paid and hyped cornerbacks Reid will leave behind who are the ones the new coach will inherit.
Gruden also had to see the Eagles' defense called for three-straight offsides penalties in the fourth quarter with the game on the line.
A smart coach doesn't embrace dumb football. Since he specializes in breaking down film on quarterbacks, Gruden sees the biggest question facing the next coach is the most challenging to fix.
Certainly, Nick Foles shows promise, but he isn't Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III, no-brainers to build around. OK, maybe Gruden sees something in Foles.
Or, maybe Gruden thinks he can win with Michael Vick as his quarterback.
Well, I don't know what Gruden thinks.
I do know Lurie can't allow Gruden to get away like back in 1998. Lurie should know this, too.
Reach Kevin Callahan at email@example.com
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