September 10 Philadelphia Inquirer
“When the Eagles open the 2010 NFL season on Sunday against the Green Bay Packers, Andy Reid will embark on a journey few coaches in the history of the NFL have traversed.
In fact, Reid is the only head coach to have paired with one quarterback for as long as he has and then traded him away.
Donovan McNabb and Reid, joined at the hip since the coach made the quarterback his first draft pick in 1999, are no longer one. McNabb, of course, is 140 miles down I-95 with the Washington Redskins, while Reid is set to begin his 12th season as the Eagles‘ coach.
After many successes but ultimate failure, the future may reveal who was more responsible for both – the chicken (Reid) or the egg (McNabb).
“I’m all right with that,” Reid said earlier this summer and just a few months after he dealt his franchise quarterback within the division. “Inevitably, it was my decision to go that route. I’m proud of all the things Donovan did, the way he handled himself, the legacy he’s left here in Philadelphia. You never want that part to end. But this business is crazy that way.”
McNabb started 142 games with Reid as his head coach, a mark that is tied for sixth-longest in the league. Of the five coach/QB couplings that are longer and the one that is the same, each union ended for reasons other than a trade:
Dan Marino and Don Shula, Dolphins (184 games): Shula retired.
Terry Bradshaw and Chuck Noll, Steelers (158): Bradshaw retired.
Len Dawson and Hank Stram, Chiefs (157): Stram was fired.
Jim Kelly and Marv Levy, Bills (153): Kelly retired.
Bob Griese and Shula, Dolphins (151): Griese retired, although he was benched in his final season.
John Elway and Dan Reeves, Broncos (142 games): Reeves was fired.
The only circumstance among the top 15 pairings in which the quarterback was traded occurred when Tennessee dealt Steve McNair to the Baltimore Ravens in 2006 after he started 131 games with Jeff Fisher at the helm. Like McNabb and Reid, they failed to win a title.
Fisher, unlike Reid, did not make the final decision, though. But Fisher did have to start anew. And while he’s had his ups and downs with Vince Young as his quarterback, Fisher is still with the Titans. Even Reid, not one given to easy characterizations, has acknowledged the ending and beginning of eras with Kevin Kolb being handed the reins.”
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