Is Andy Reid the only Eagles coach Philly didn’t ruin?

Former Eagles coaches have not fared well against their old team. Or after leaving town.

NFL: Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

From 1999 through 2012, Andy Reid coached 243 games for the Eagles, winning 130 in the regular season and 10 in the playoffs. In his five seasons in Kansas City, Reid is 45-24, including a 1-3 record in the playoffs. But in those 69 games with the Chiefs, Reid has faced his former team only once. That changes Sunday, when the Eagles head to Arrowhead Stadium for a 1 p.m. tilt with their old mentor.

Big Red last faced the Eagles on Sept. 19, 2013 for a Thursday night primetime special that  wasn’t very special for the those at the Linc. Reid’s Chiefs beat Chip Kelly’s Birds 26-16, squandering a 158-yard rushing night from LeSean McCoy. Michael Vick was the quarterback that night, throwing for just 201 yards and two interceptions, though adding a passing touchdown and 99 yards on the ground. The Chiefs mustered just one offensive touchdown on the night, but a pick-six by Eric Berry and four Ryan Succop field goals gave Reid the happy homecoming.

Historically, former Eagles coaches beating Philly hasn’t happened often. In fact, a former Eagles coach even playing against his old team hasn’t happened that much. The franchise dates back to 1933, but the Eagles have faced a former head coach just 12 times.

In those games, the Birds are 8-4 all-time, as the only former coaches to beat Philly have been Nick Skorich with the Browns in 1972, Marion Campbell with the Falcons in 1988, Buddy Ryan with the Cardinals in 1994 — he beat Rich Kotite in ’94 then lost to Ray Rhodes the following year — and Reid, back in 2013.

Name Team Year Result Eagles coach
Bert Bell Steelers 1941 L 10-7 Greasy Neale
Nick Skorich Browns 1972 W 27-17 Ed Khayat
Mike McCormack Colts 1981 L 38-13 Dick Vermeil
Marion Campbell Falcons 1988 W 27-24 Buddy Ryan
Buddy Ryan Cardinals 1994 W 12-6 Rich Kotite
Buddy Ryan Cardinals 1995 L 21-20 Ray Rhodes
Rich Kotite Jets 1996 L 21-20 Ray Rhodes
Dick Vermeil Rams 1998 L 17-14 Ray Rhodes
Dick Vermeil Rams 1999 L 38-31 Andy Reid
Dick Vermeil Chiefs 2001 L 23-10 Andy Reid
Dick Vermeil Chiefs 2005 L 37-31 Andy Reid
Andy Reid Chiefs 2013 W 26-16 Chip Kelly

Rhodes faced three previous Eagles coaches and beat them all, while Reid faced Dick Vermeil three times and beat him in each meeting. Vermeil, for all his success after coming back from 15 years out of coaching, wasn’t able to beat his old team while in charge in St. Louis or Kansas City.

In researching how previous coaches fared against the Birds, something became clear. Reid is an anomaly when it comes to former Eagles coaches, in that he’s found a second football life in Kansas City. That doesn’t usually happen.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Seattle Seahawks
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Chiefs have won 11 or more games three of the four seasons he’s been the head coach. Their surprise win at New England in Week 1 has people rethinking the list of Super Bowl contenders in the AFC.

Other than Reid, most of the former Eagles head coaches have either flamed out in subsequent jobs, never got another opportunity to be an NFL head coach again, quit coaching altogether or died.

Since 1933, the Eagles have had 23 men serve as head coach for at least one game, with 19 coaching at least a full season. Pat Shurmur and Fred Bruney each coached a game, filling in for a fired coach. Wayne Millner coached 10 games in 1951 after Bo McMillin only lasted two before resigning because of an illness that was subsequently diagnosed as stomach cancer. McMillin died shortly thereafter.

Of the 18 men to coach a season or more — it’s 19 if we include Doug Pederson — 10 served as a head coach again in the NFL. That includes Bert Bell, who went from coaching the Eagles to the coaching the Steelers in 1940 when both franchises were ostensibly swapped. Bell lasted just two games with the Steelers before getting fed up and quitting.

Skorich coached the Birds for 42 games from 1961 through 1963, then lasted four seasons with the Browns from 1971-74, going 30-24-2 with two playoff losses. Skorich had eight years between head coaching opportunities, while Mike McCormack had five, coaching the Eagles for three seasons in the mid-70s before two years with the Baltimore Colts in 1980 and 1981. He got fired from both jobs — with a stint as an assistant in Cincinnati in between — before ending his head coaching career with seven games for Seattle in 1982, filling in to finish out that strike-shortened season at 4-3 before taking a front-office job.

When McCormack was fired in Philly, he was replaced by Vermeil. Vermeil was 54-47 in Philly and 3-4 in the playoffs, including a trip to the Super Bowl in 1980, which made him a legend in this city. Vermeil had enormous success after leaving the Eagles. It just came in the broadcast booth and at his winery.

Eventually Vermeil went back to coaching, after a decade and a half away. His last season with the Eagles was 1982 and he didn’t return until 1997. He was 22-26 in three seasons with the Rams, quitting after winning the Super Bowl in 1999, then returned after a year off to coach the Chiefs for five seasons, going 44-36 but making the playoffs just once.

Marion Campbell replaced Vermeil in Philly in 1983. He was terrible, getting fired after 47 games, winning just 17. Campbell had coached in Atlanta before coming to Philly and returned to the Falcons in 1987, a year removed from his final Eagles season, going 17-51 in three years back with the Falcons.

Ryan took over in 1986 after a hugely successful stint as defensive coordinator in Chicago. As beloved as he is in Philly , Ryan never won a playoff game, going 43-35-1 in 79 regular seasons games in Philly and 0-3 in the postseason. Ryan had three more seasons as a coordinator before taking over the Arizona Cardinals for two dismal seasons, going 12-20 in 1994 and 1995.

The list of futility continues with Rich Kotite, who was bad with the Eagles from 1991-94 and way, way worse with the Jets, going 4-28 in 1995 and 1996.

Kotite was replaced in Philly by Rhodes, who went 29-34-1 with the Eagles, winning Coach of the Year in 1995, but only winning one playoff game in four seasons. A year after he was let go by Jeffrey Lurie, Rhodes took over in Green Bay, going 8-8 in his only other year as a head coach.

Rhodes was replaced in Philly by Reid, who after 14 years was replaced by Kelly. When he got fired, San Francisco hired him, but Kelly lasted just one season, going 2-14 before getting fired.

Looking back, this is dismal list of former football coaches. Other than two years for Vermeil — including that one Super Bowl victory — Reid’s time in Kansas City is the only real post-Eagles success any former coach has had.

Combined, former Eagles coaches have a regular season record of 196-254 after leaving Philly.

Without Reid’s tenure with the Chiefs, that record is 152-233, which proves one thing: Reid’s biggest accomplishment is that he’s the only Eagles coach who didn’t let Philly ruin him.

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