The Philadelphia Eagles were an 8-8 team that failed to meet lofty expectations and couldn't even make the playoffs. But right now, Eagles fans like myself have to feel lucky that at least we aren't the New York Jets. That 8-8 team that failed to meet lofty expectations and couldn't even make the playoffs has proven to be more dysfunctional by the day.
The latest example came from injured rookie quarterback Greg McElroy on Jan. 4, who told an Alabama radio station that the Jets had a "corrupt mindset" in their locker room. At this point, the Jets seem to exist only to make the Eagles look good - and Andy Reid look slightly better for keeping a tighter reign than Rex Ryan has.
Philadelphia had its own locker room problems as well, thanks to the DeSean Jackson mess and the charges that the Eagles quit on Dec. 1 in Seattle. And it isn't like Reid hasn't lost control of the team in the past, although no one could have stopped Terrell Owens from torpedoing the 2005 season. Yet for all of Reid's sins, he has run a more cohesive ship over the last 13 years than the likes of Ryan have.
While the Jets crumbled under adversity this season, the Eagles usually do better when they are on the absolute brink. They rallied for Reid this past December when they turned a 4-8 mark into an 8-8 finish that saved his job. Most of the time, Reid is able to make Philadelphia play at its best when it is on the brink of disaster - a skill which Ryan could not muster this year.
Aside from the problems with Jackson, Owens and Donovan McNabb, it is rare to hear about the Eagles being under a "corrupt mindset" in the Reid era. New York has brought onboard a lot of players with questionable character, and it finally came back to haunt the Jets when Santonio Holmes bottomed out and got benched in the season finale. Meanwhile, Philadelphia got the player with the most questionable character in years in Michael Vick, yet Reid has helped him stay out of trouble over the last three years.
Given how Ryan took the Jets to the conference title game the last two years, it was easy to believe that he had surpassed Reid. However, the likes of Ryan and the Jets rarely sustain themselves over the long term. At the least, Reid and the Eagles have been more consistent over the last 13 years and have avoided the kind of madness the Jets see themselves in now - with only one exception or two.
These are positives we Eagles fans have to tell ourselves to excuse Reid coming back for another year, and to excuse how his stability hasn't gotten us close to the Super Bowl lately. But as the downfall of Ryan and the Jets has shown, there are some situations that even made Reid and Philadelphia look pretty good in 2011.
Robert Dougherty is a life-long Philadelphia resident who has followed the Eagles since he was eight years old.
Other stories by this contributor