PHILADELPHIA - NOVEMBER 08: Head coach Andy Reid of the Philadelphia Eagles looks on against the Dallas Cowboys at Lincoln Financial Field on November 8, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Pop quiz, fellas. Let’s say you’re the head coach of a team. Perhaps you’re overweight and also have a very thick and lustrous pushbroom mustache. Let’s also say your team is faced with a 4th-and-11 at your opponent’s 34-yard line with 4:27 left to go. You are down seven points. You need a touchdown. Badly. You also have no timeouts, because you foolishly squandered two of them on failed challenges of spot calls, when spot calls are notoriously difficult to get overturned. Given all that, do you decide to:
A) Go for it on 4th down, because it’s your best chance at the tying score with so little time left and no way to stop the clock, or
B) Kick a meaningless field goal and all but surrender to your opponent.
If you chose Option B, congratulations to you. You are Andy Reid. Yes, the Cowboys played a spectacularly patient game last night, content to run the ball, pass short, and take a big shot only twice, and at the exact right times – long passes to Miles Austin and Patrick Crayton. But it’s always nice to go into a game knowing that the coach on the opposing sidelines is always good for an utterly baffling decision or two.
Reid elected to take three points (on a long field goal that easily could have missed or been blocked) and was content to try for the needed touchdown later, presumably when there were less than two minutes left. Because it’s more fun that way, you see. These strategies and more are detailed in Andy Reid’s new book, “What Do You Mean, The Game Isn’t 70 Minutes Long?” After David Akers kicked his little field goal and ruined your fantasy team for the night, the Eagles were toast. They never got the ball back after refusing to go for it. Of course they didn’t. God saw Reid wimp out and put the rest of his thunder into Marion Barber to make certain of it. Needless to say, the world remains baffled by Reid’s strategy. Cris Collinsworth:
Personally, I think I would have gone for it.
AJ Daulerio of Deadspin:
I was really hoping he'd throw the challenge flag after his own decision.
Sending out Akers to cut it from 7 to 4 might have been my all-time favorite "What the hell is Andy Reid doing?" moment.
The Fog of War has enshrouded Reid in the past and it seems to have risen from the soil of Lincoln Financial Field once again.
Andy Behrens of Yahoo!:
If timeouts were unlimited, Andy Reid might never lose.
Look, I'm not an Eagles fan, but I have nothing against them, so don't think I'm biased or something, but I'm 100% convinced that the Eagles need to fire Andy Reid immediately… It was seriously the dumbest move I've seen a coach make in years.
I didn’t even show you what some of the Philly COMMENTERS were saying about this. Lots of swearing and death threats. Anyway, there’s something immensely satisfying about not just winning a game, but winning in such a way that the opposing team’s fanbase wants to hang their own coach in effigy. It’s almost better than taking the outright division lead. Almost.