Saturday December 29, 2012

PHILADELPHIA -- Andy Reid has been fired by nearly everyone except the man in charge.

It’s a foregone conclusion in Philadelphia and around the NFL that Reid will coach his last game with the Eagles on Sunday at the New York Giants. Fans already have a wish list for a new coach and the media has speculated for months about Reid’s successor.

But owner Jeffrey Lurie has said nothing. Lurie hasn’t spoken to reporters since Aug. 30, which is when he said another 8-8 season would be "unacceptable."

A careful look at the questions Lurie faced and his exact answers during that news conference leaves open the possibility that maybe Reid may not get fired.

It doesn’t seem likely that he’ll step down.

"I want to coach. That’s what I want to do," Reid said Friday.

Reid has one year left on his contract, so Lurie made it clear the last time he spoke publicly that he wouldn’t discuss a contract extension with Reid’s agent, Bob LaMonte, until after the season.

After that statement, Lurie was asked six straight questions about Reid’s future. Here’s the questions and responses:

--Does there need to be a certain level of success on the field for Reid to receive a contract extension?

"It goes beyond that but there’s no question what I said was we need substantial improvement," Lurie said.


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-- Did you set a level of what qualifies as a successful season?

"I don’t have a level or anything like that," Lurie said. "I just want to be clear about that. You just try to make the best judgment you can after the season."

--Would another 8-8 season be considered satisfactory?

"No, it would not," Lurie said.

--Will you know after the season whether it was successful?

"I do. I think it will be very clear," Lurie said.

--Does your statement on an 8-8 season have qualifiers, including potential injuries?

"Listen, you just have to make the best decisions you can after the season," Lurie said. "As I said, 8-8 was unacceptable."

--Regardless of injuries, is an 8-8 season unacceptable?

"Again, I am not going to make blanket statements," Lurie said. "I really wanted to try to explain to you that 8-8 was unacceptable. Yeah, I guess if two-thirds of the team is not playing, there are always exceptions. That was a really unacceptable outcome. I just want to reiterate that."

At no point did Lurie say he would fire Reid if the team didn’t make the playoffs. However, the widespread assumption after that news conference was that Reid had to take the Eagles deep in the playoffs to keep his job. Because the Eagles are 4-11 and out of the playoffs for the second straight year, it seems inevitable that Reid’s days are numbered.