Interesting Andry Reid article. It is weird how a lot of Philly fans haven't warmed up to him. IMO I think Reid is an excellent coach. He always has his teams prepared and they always play hard. Until he wins the big game, I can't put him in my top 5, but he is pretty close. ********************************* Despite success, Reid doesn't score high on fans' respect meter [size=-1]BY PAUL DOMOWITCH[/size] [size=-1]Knight Ridder Newspapers[/size] PHILADELPHIA - (KRT) - Any day now, Andy Reid is expected to put his signature on a shiny, new contract extension with the Eagles that will make him one of the NFL's highest-paid coaches. The new deal will put Reid somewhere between the $5.6 million a year Joe Gibbs is receiving from the Washington Redskins and the $4.275 million that the Dallas Cowboys annually are paying Bill Parcells, sources close to the negotiations told the Philadelphia Daily News. He had three years left on his current deal that paid $2.5 million a year. The length of the extension is not known. "Andy is coaching in a division where he's the only coach and general manager," said Reid's agent, Bob LaMonte. "Parcells is making what he's making for just coaching. So is Gibbs. "Andy is one of the biggest steals of the century. If he's not the best coach in the National Football League, he's top five." The numbers clearly support LaMonte's claim. Andy Reid's 46 wins over the last four seasons are the most in the NFL. By the end of the 2004 season, Reid likely will be the winningest coach in Eagles history. His five-season total of 55 victories is only two behind Dick Vermeil and 11 shy of Greasy Neale. His .632 winning percentage is the highest in Eagles history. His five playoff wins are the most ever by an Eagles coach. He has guided the Eagles to four straight playoff appearances, three straight division titles and three straight NFC title games. And yet, this football-crazy town continues to be turtle-slow in embracing Big Red. Vermeil still is a billboard icon in this town, even though he won only one division title, even though more than two decades have passed since he coached his last game for the Eagles. Buddy Ryan still is rock-star revered here, still gets standing-room-only crowds when he pops into town for an infrequent appearance, even though the Birds never won a single playoff game in his 5 years. As for Reid, even with Super Bowl hopes in Philadelphia at a record high, criticism of the man still far outweighs the praise. Listen to the talk shows, read the e-mails and newspaper columns, and you'd swear this was San Diego or Phoenix or Detroit or some other playoff-starved NFL slum. Four straight double-digit win seasons, two NFL coach of the year awards, and the guy still is having trouble passing Rich Kotite on the respect meter. They rip his offense. They rip his playcalling. They rip his clock management. They rip him for not running the ball enough. They rip him for not getting better receivers. They rip him for not better utilizing the talents of his star quarterback. They rip him for letting popular veterans walk in the name of the almighty salary cap. They rip him for his uninformative news conferences. They even rip him - often viciously - for his girth. LaMonte still remembers that moment in December 2002, when, as he was walking off the field with Reid after the Eagles clinched their second straight NFC East title with a win over Washington, a fan leaned over the Veterans Stadium railing and yelled, "You fat bleep. Eat another sandwich." "Andy is one of the most real people I've ever met in my life," said LaMonte, who represents more than half of the NFL's head coaches. "When you're a real person - self-deprecating and all those things - and you're not an egomaniac, you can deal with idiots like that. I don't think you can deal with it if you're not a person of great inner strength, which he is. He is able to laugh things like that off." The question is, why should he need to? Why, after four straight double-digit win seasons and three straight conference title game appearances, is this town still so lukewarm about the man who has transformed the Eagles into one of the NFL's top franchises? Is it because Reid, the team's head coach and executive vice president of football operations, doesn't possess Vermeil's JFK-like charisma? Is it because he doesn't wear his heart on his sleeve like Vermeil? Is it because he doesn't have Ryan's swagger or bombast? "It's because he doesn't buy their crap," LaMonte said. "Andy's never going to kiss anybody's ***. He's never going to say the things they want to hear. He's going to say the things he feels they should hear. In a way, he's made them eat crap and like it." To make his point, LaMonte refers to yet another Eagles game. This one was against Dallas in 1999, Reid's first season in Philadelphia. The Birds had started 0-4 and the fans were not pleased that Reid was keeping his No. 1 draft pick, Donovan McNabb, on the bench and starting journeyman quarterback Doug Pederson, whom Reid had brought with him from Green Bay. "They didn't have a bleeping first down in the first half," La-Monte said. "He wasn't playing McNabb and they're yelling, `Bleep Reid, play McNabb.' I've got to tell you, I was getting to the point at the start of the third quarter when they were losing where I'm almost yelling, `Bleep Reid.' "But you know what? He didn't play him and damn, he got his first win, and his career was off and running. If the city of Philadelphia didn't learn about Andy Reid that night, they're dumb. Because, believe me, no man at 0-4 could sit there with batteries flying down and `Bleep Reid, play McNabb' chants in his ear and not play McNabb. Any other guy would have caved and played him. Any guy. But not Andy." When the Eagles first hired him 5 years ago, Reid seemed like the kind of coach this rawhide-tough town would chew up and spit out. He was a straight arrow who had spent the previous 7 years as an assistant to Mike Holmgren in smiley-faced Green Bay, where almost never is heard a discouraging word about the Packers. But Reid knew what he was getting into. "I was friends with Ray (Rhodes), so I got the inside scoop from him," he said recently. Rhodes, who preceded Reid as the Eagles' head coach, warned his replacement to bring along a thick skin to Philadelphia. Told him the city's fans and media could be more venomous than a pack of rattlers. Truth is, Ray Bob wasn't too far off. But Reid will take venom over apathy any day. "When people are passionate about something, they're going to have opinions," he said. "If you're in a decision-making seat, you're not always going to make everybody happy. You're going to take some shots. But people are great when I'm out. They're very nice. And I don't listen to the other stuff." If he does listen, he doesn't let it fester. He's taken some vicious beatings from some radio hosts over the last 5 years. Yet he still consents to interviews with them. "Everybody's trying to make a living," Reid said. "People understand what sells. Normally it's some form of controversy. Some people are making seven figures at stirring up controversy. So I understand the game that's involved there. I don't think they believe everything they say. But they have to stir it up. I just take it in stride." You might as well start learning to love Reid, because, with his upcoming extension, he's definitely not going anywhere. He's entering his sixth year with the Eagles, which is the third-longest coaching tenure in club history. Only Vermeil, who stayed 7 years, and Neale, who coached 10, were around longer. "Andy has loved working here," team president Joe Banner said. "He feels like the organization has supported him. He loves the team and the players. We've got tremendous facilities now. His wife and kids seem happy here and in the schools they're in. "For him, the energy that's there is much more a positive than any criticism ever is a negative. If you are really competitive and passionate about what you do, it's hard to describe the high of having that many people that excited about what's going on and what's happening." Reid has considered leaving Philadelphia only once. That was the year after he arrived, when his alma mater, Brigham Young University, tried to hire him to succeed the retiring LaVell Edwards. Thought about it long and hard before deciding to stay. "That was a job I always wanted," said Reid, who played for Edwards at BYU and also served as a graduate assistant there. "But when you accept a position and accept a job, you're here to fulfill that job to the best of your abilities. You're responsible for a lot of different people - your staff, your players. You made a commitment to them." Says LaMonte: "He almost took (the BYU job). When I say almost, I mean I thought he was doing it. When you're Mormon and the leader of the church asks you to be their coach, you don't say no easily. I'm Catholic. That's like the pope asking me to coach at Notre Dame. I'm going to have to think about it a little." He thought about it and he stayed. Four years later, he wants to stay a little longer. Long enough to win a Super Bowl. Long enough, maybe, to get this town to finally love him. "Andy Reid so epitomizes what I think the model of what a Philadelphia Eagle coach has to be for that city," LaMonte said. "If you went down the list (of other coaches) and tried to come up with someone else for that job, you couldn't. Someone else that could tolerate Philadelphia. "Andy is the only guy I can imagine who could have gone in there and said, `Guys, write whatever you want to write. Do whatever you want to do. Call me whatever you want to call me, and say what I can't do. But I'm telling you this, watch me. It's going to be my way.' "Right now, he's arguably the greatest coach in franchise history. If he's not, he's certainly close. And he hasn't been there very long. You're looking at a guy that is in the process, right before our eyes, of becoming an icon. I think he knows that. And I think he knows he has the ability to become something really legendary there. God help us if he wins the Super Bowl. Because if he does that, they might tear down the statue of Rocky and put a sculpture of him up."