Typically, a guy could set his watch during one of Andy Reid’s post-game press conferences. In fact, it usually took just about three minutes after all the throat clearing and injury updates when I would reach down and grab my right shoe and fire it hard as possible at the television set.
Unbowed, it would take a minute more of evasiveness and non-answers until I would grab my left-footed Chuck Taylor with my right hand and do my best impression of some sort of dissident journalist. Luckily my aim was bad.
So out of ammo and not willing to get up and dig into the couch cushions for the remote, I’d watch Andy Reid’s head mounted on the TV screen as if it were a prized trophy elk. The eyes on the thing were almost lifelike as they scan the room to focus a fuzzy gaze on the questioner. Oh, what those eyes must have seen! Babbling brooks, the greenest brush sprawling under a canopy of stately oaks, squirrels and rabbits and birds.
Then here comes the shoe-throwing idiot trying to take him down with some rubber sole to the dome.
Sometimes press conferences just aren’t fair.
Look, Andy Reid didn’t do anything wrong by sitting in front of the cameras and recorders while attempting to deconstruct Sunday night’s big victory over the New York Giants, nor was he exactly revealing, either. However, unlike in the past where his lips would move and sound would emanate from his mouth, the non-words and mish-mash of words that began to sound like the teacher from the Charlie Brown cartoons weren’t that offensive.
I didn’t go for my shoes.
Andy Reid’s verbosity in press conferences is nothing new. In fact, Reid’s brevity is analyzed so much in these parts that it’s a cliché. Sports comedians in Philly have two standard impressions in their arsenal—Charlie Manuel’s Appalachian twang and Andy Reid clearing his throat to talk about someone’s groin injury. Get Charlie away from the cameras and he’ll drop some pearls on you and regale one and all with tales about playing ball for Billy Martin and against Sadaharu Oh in Japan. Reid is probably the same way—get the guy away from the glare and he’s probably brimming with stories and wisdom.
Hey, if the guy doesn’t like to talk to a room full of strangers, what are you going to do?
No, the thing that’s most interesting to ponder is the idea that sports press conferences could imitate those serious affairs with political types. More specifically, think if the local scribes just starting hucking shoes around the first time they got offended. It would be a hail of white sneakers and old loafers flying through the air like moths buzzing an outdoor light. Media folks have a low threshold to begin with, and it’s not just the subjects on the dais with the microphone that should duck and cover. The local media will turn on each other like angry snakes with an empty stomach if given the chance.
So what’s the point? OK, try this… maybe Reid is loosening up. No, it’s tough to tell from the way things unfold after the game, but the color-coded tension level has dropped to something like a warm earth tone. Remember how it was when Donovan McNabb was still the quarterback? Heck, remember how it was after the opener when Kevin Kolb was moved from the starting QB spot and players were sent back into the game despite suffering concussions. Back then, Reid had to bob and weave Sugar Ray Leonard against Roberto Duran in the “No Mas” fight.
Reid seems relaxed these days. Why not? At 7-3 the Eagles just might be the class of the NFC. The interesting part, though, is how it got to this point. It was simple, actually. All Reid had to do yank Kolb in favor of Sports Illustrated cover boy, Michael Vick, duck and cover from the flying shoes and poison pens and hope that everything would fall into place.
It was that simple.
Still, who would have guessed that 10 weeks after the Week 1 debacle that Reid would be riding Vick’s coattails to a coach-of-the-year bid? Better yet, with Vick behind center the conservative coach (with a penchant for gadget plays), is making calls he never made with McNabb. That fourth-down play that turned into a long TD run for LeSean McCoy is not a call Reid would have made with McNabb.
“Michael Vick is playing out of his mind right now, and that’s a beautiful thing,” Reid said during his press conference.
That is the old coach opening up and letting it all out.