Cautionary Tales & Never Fails: Are Eagles the roadmap for quick franchise recoveries?
NFC East - The power of strong ownership has gotten Philly to third Super Bowl under three different head coaches: Seaside Joe 1441
In 2024, it is expected that the Seattle Seahawks will go up for sale. This is an even more momentus occasion than hiring Pete Carroll or drafting Russell Wilson. Success—and problems—always start with ownership.
Some of you may have opinions of Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, but for me he’s managed to slip under the radar as “just that guy who looks like Lorne Michaels” and I think that’s probably the best place to be as an owner. Let people recognize who you are without people also associating you with the management of the actual team, as is the case with less favorable owners like Jim Irsay and Jerry Jones.
This is also what made Paul Allen such a great owner of the Seahawks. As Mina Kimes once told me regarding things heard from the grapevine, Paul Allen didn’t know anything about football. Like, anything. “What are the rules?” type of ownership and that’s what made hires like Mike Holmgren and Pete Carroll so vital to the success of the Seahawks….”Here, you run everything.”
Allen was a basketball fan and the Trailblazers were his baby, so there would be no meddling with the NFL team he owned. And that’s where I attribute most of Seattle’s success. The Rams have a similar owner in Stan Kroenke, as his only real rooting interest is making money, and that can have a really positive effect on a franchise too; winning begets profits.
Lurie is a huge football fan, but he seems to make mostly all the right hires and doesn’t interfere with the day-to-day operations as far as I can tell.
Similar to Allen, as soon as Lurie bought the Eagles in 1994, he tried to start plucking from the Green Bay Packers/Holmgren tree. First he hired Ray Rhodes following a one-year stint as the 49ers defensive coordinator (Pete Carroll would be his successor) and prior to that, two years as Holmgren’s defensive coordinator in Green Bay. Rhodes went 10-6 in his first two seasons, but was fired at the conclusion of the 1998 season.
Then he hired Andy Reid following seven years of working for Holmgren, who also left for the Seahawks that year.
After going 5-11 in his first season, Reid was successful in basically 10 of the next 11 years, going to five NFC Championship games and one Super Bowl with only one losing season. The Eagles then made one of their only mistakes, firing Reid after going 4-12 in 2012 and replacing him with Chip Kelly. What history will forget is that even Kelly went 10-6 in his first two seasons, only getting fired after some really mishandled situations at quarterback in 2015.
Philadelphia corrected its Reid mistake by hiring Reid’s offensive coordinator in 2016, Doug Pederson. Only five years after firing Reid and seemingly “rebuilding” in 2013, the Eagles won the Super Bowl with Nick Foles starting for their entire postseason run. But then after mishandling Carson Wentz’s contract and overvaluing his impact, Philly parted with Pederson after a 4-11-1 season in 2020.
You would again think that if the Eagles were anything like 29 or 30 other franchises, this would lead to a decade of rebuilding. but similar as the end of the Rhodes era, the end of the Reid era, and the end of the Kelly era, Philadelphia has managed to make itself into a Super Bowl contender in short order. Despite ridicule for the Nick Sirianni hire, the Eagles are one win away from winning their second Super Bowl in the last six years.
Despite having a different QB, a different head coach, and turning over almost the entire roster.
Never Fails: Great ownership that doesn’t panic and interfere
Cautionary Tales: Will Eagles repeat their Carson Wentz mistake?
The Eagles do not have to pay Jalen Hurts. They just don’t have to do that and the pressure to do so this year simply because it’s now an option seems like it would be an incredibly short sighted mistake, especially given the recent error of paying Wentz too soon.
Hurts is entering a contract year but the worst they can do is give him the exclusive franchise tag. The worst that can happen if they extend Hurts now is the Kyler Murray situation in Arizona. That’s such a worse worst. Also, the Eagles are currently paying over $60 million in dead money hits in 2022, part of the reason it was so necessary to have a cheap starting quarterback.
Will Philadelphia learn from their own cautionary tales or will they give into the pressure of the media and social media wondering, “Well, this guy should be paid as much as those guys, this is so unfair!!!”? It’s not unfair, it’s the rules. Change the rules, if it’s unfair. Until then, I would not pay Jalen Hurts the going rate for a franchise quarterback after two seasons as a starter with more left to prove as a passer.
Seaside Joe is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.