Nick Sirianni coached the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII less than one year ago, but could they fire him just as quickly as he rose to the top? 

“The way that the locker room feels right now, the way that the environment feels right now, feels like 2012. It feels like 2015. I can’t speak as directly to 2020 because we weren’t allowed in the locker room that year, but it feels like that, like the foundation is unstable.” -Tim McManus

The Eagles lost five of their final six regular-season games to fall into an NFC Wild Card position. They embarrassed themselves in the playoffs against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers by showing an astonishing lack of focus in a 32-9 loss. The lifeless effort was exactly the type of game that costs a head coach his job.

Jeffrey Lurie and Howie Roseman 

The organization has operated with very specific patterns during the ownership of Jeffrey Lurie. The Eagles have confidence in their own infrastructure and belief that they can keep doing what’s worked for them in the past to regroup after bad seasons.

Howie Roseman might’ve built a flawed roster for Nick Sirianni to work with, but it’s highly unlikely that Lurie would fire his long-time general manager. Look at the past head coaches during Roseman’s tenure.

Andy Reid is the best head coach in franchise history, but he couldn’t survive a 4-12 season in 2012. Chip Kelly entered the 2015 season looking like a revolutionary offensive mind. He didn’t even last through all 16 games on the Philadelphia sideline. Doug Pederson brought the franchise its first Lombardi Trophy with an unforgettable victory in Super Bowl LII. It only bought him only three years of job security.

Despite the unceremonious exits of the previous three head coaches, the Eagles have shown an incredible ability to bounce back quickly under new leadership. Lurie and Roseman have transitioned into new coaching regimes well before, and they’ll be confident they can do it again.

Past behavior is the best indicator of future behavior. Looking deeper at the organization’s past reveals enough indicators that the Eagles will fire Nick Sirianni.


 

  • Kotite Implodes- 1994

    The Eagles relied on a talented cast left over from the Buddy Ryan era with fairly successful seasons under Rich Kotite in the early 1990s. They began Kotite’s fourth and final season in 1994 with a 7-2 record behind Randall Cunningham and Herschel Walker.

    Kotite let the bottom fall out from underneath him. The Eagles lost their final seven games of the season and fell out of playoff position. They posted a -61 point differential during the streak. 

    While the fast start and the sudden drop in 1994 compares to 2023, the collapse occurred in the first season of Jeffrey Lurie’s ownership. He hadn’t established a confident identity yet when he made the decision to let Kotite go. The instance doesn’t point to enough of a parallel relevant to Sirianni’s future.

    Jeffrey Lurie of the Philadelphia Eagles

  • Eagles Fire Ray Rhodes- 1998

    The Eagles fired another coach after the 1998 season. Ray Rhodes began his tenure in Philadelphia by winning the NFL Coach of the Year in 1995. However, the Eagles slipped down with a 6-9-1 season by 1997. They entered the 1998 season with low expectations.

    A 38-0 blowout loss on opening day told the fans all they needed to know about Rhodes’ future. The Eagles started 0-5, and a 3-13 finish made the decision to fire him an obvious choice.

    Lurie demonstrated for the first time that he was willing to move on from a recently successful head coach hired during his ownership tenure. That willingness has developed into a major part of the analysis of Nick Sirianni’s future.

    Ray Rhodes of the Philadelphia Eagles

  • Recovering From A Super Bowl Loss- 2005

    Andy Reid built the Eagles into a winner with Donovan McNabb under center in the early 2000s. They reached their peak with a Super Bowl appearance after the 2004 season. A passionate fan base had high expectations entering the 2005 season.

    The last season the Eagles returned from a Super Bowl loss unfolded similarly to the 2023 season. The Eagles survived a shaky start and reached 4-2 by escaping San Diego in Week 7 on the back of a blocked field goal returned for a game-winning touchdown. The solid record was anything but convincing, just like the unlikely 10-1 start to the 2023 season.

    The Eagles quickly spiraled into a four-game losing streak. The NFL world kept waiting for the talent they saw in 2004 to emerge, but it never did. The Eagles relied too heavily on less-talented defenders like Keith Adams and Sam Rayburn who were better off in rotational roles in 2004. The 2023 team had similar problems with Reed Blankenship and an underwhelming group of linebackers.

    The Eagles lost a stunner in Week 10 against the Dallas Cowboys when McNabb suffered an injury chasing Roy Williams on his way to a game-winning pick-six.

    Two key factors of the disaster in 2005 differentiate the fallout from the 2023 season. 

    Terrell Owens set the worst tone for the 2005 season by orchestrating a circus of distractions during training camp. The issues within the locker room in 2023 were much more difficult to pinpoint.

    When the team desperately tried to recover by leaning on the rest of the talent that helped them in previous seasons, a quarterback injury ultimately put the nail in their coffin. The 2023 team didn’t deal with the same magnitude of a quarterback injury.

    Reid coached seven more seasons after the 6-10 finish in 2005. He wasn’t nearly as successful afterwards. The Eagles won only three more playoff games under Reid after winning seven from 2000-2004.

    Lurie kept Reid in charge in 2006 largely based on the confidence that the Terrell Owens saga was in the past. Things went wrong in the worst kind of way in 2005, and it was reasonable to think the difficulty wouldn’t persist.

    It’s unquestionably difficult to bounce back from a Super Bowl loss. However, why would it be reasonable to believe any circumstances that forced the demise of the 2023 team will resolve themselves? Andy Reid’s chance to regroup doesn’t necessarily indicate another chance for Sirianni in 2024.

    Andry Reid and Terrell Owens of the Philadelphia Eagles

  • Scheduling Disadvantages- 2010

    The 2010 Eagles faced the hurricane of their schedule in November after a bye in Week 8. They survived with three quality wins against the Colts, the Redskins, and the Giants before a demanding schedule caught up to them.

    They lost 31-26 at Soldier Field on Thanksgiving weekend thanks to a patchwork secondary with no energy, not unlike the one the 2023 team used. They pulled off the Miracle at the (New) Meadowlands weeks later. A wacky schedule forced them into action on a Tuesday night loss against Joe Webb and the Minnesota Vikings. The loss prevented them from earning a first-round bye. They lost to the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Wild Card Round.

    The 2023 team also escaped with miraculous victories against the Kansas City Chiefs and the Buffalo Bills that provided as little blueprint for future success as the memorable DeSean Jackson punt return.

    They collapsed partially due to schedule challenges, and their embarrassment reached an even higher level of the Joe Webb debacle.

    A difficult schedule isn’t an excuse in the NFL. Andy Reid fell off completely after the loss against Green Bay. The Eagles finished 8-8 in 2011 and 4-12 in 2012.

    Lurie and Roseman could look at the similarities of 2010 and 2023 Eagles with the benefit of hindsight knowing how the Andy Reid era ultimately imploded. They certainly wouldn’t want to retain Sirianni if they expect the next two Eagles seasons to go as poorly as the 2011 and 2012 seasons.

    Joe Webb defeated the Philadelphia Eagles

  • Andy Reid Fired- 2012

    The 2012 season was one of the worst in franchise history, but the Eagles started 3-1. The three wins came by a combined four points, and their first loss came by 21 points. Michael Vick and the offense committed a stunning 12 turnovers in the first three games. Jalen Hurts and the 2023 Eagles had similar issues (but to a lesser extent).

    The season spiraled out of control with a 1-11 finish. It was obvious that the Andy Reid era was over. Regardless of how tough it was for Lurie to admit it, the Eagles needed a change.

    The easiest parallel to identify is a midseason change in the primary decision-maker on defense. The Eagles fired Juan Castillo six games into his second season as defensive coordinator in 2012. The move to Todd Bowles didn’t fix a secondary featuring Nnamdi Asomugha and Kurt Coleman.

    When the Eagles turned play-calling duties over to Matt Patricia in 2023, it became obvious that their issues on defense weren’t fixable.

    When Tim McManus spoke about the similar feeling to 2012, he didn’t mention that Reid was much further removed from a Super Bowl appearance when Lurie fired him than Sirianni is. However, the long-time owner later moved on from Doug Pederson only three seasons after a Super Bowl victory.

    Lurie and Roseman probably won’t keep a head coach in place as his success wanes like they did with Andy Reid.

    Andy Reid of the Philadelphia Eagles

  • A Hollow 6-2 Start- 2014

    Parallels to the 2014 season became obvious early in 2023. Chip Kelly and the Eagles defeated Washington 37-34 at Lincoln Financial Field in Week 3 in 2014. The defensive issues were glaring, just like they were in a 34-31 home victory against Washington in Week 4 in 2023.

    When the 2014 Eagles improved to 6-2, their issues hadn’t yet been exposed. The passionate Philadelphia fan base acknowledged the issues while optimistically hoping that Kelly could correct them and find a rhythm as the season progressed.

    Late-season matchups against the Packers and Seahawks, who ultimately met in the NFC Championship Game, exposed Philadelphia’s weaknesses. Similar losses against the 49ers and the Cowboys destroyed the momentum of the 2023 season and revealed the Eagles as a team that couldn’t compete with the true NFC contenders.

    The fallout from the 2014 season included Lurie’s decision to demote Roseman and hand additional control of personnel to Chip Kelly. It was a move that Lurie quickly regretted.

    Chip Kelly and Mark Sanchez of the Philadelphia Eagles

  • The Chip Kelly Disaster- 2015

    Chip Kelly embarrassed the Eagles in 2015. His roster construction blew up as badly as anyone could’ve imagined. He lost the trust of the organization and most of his credibility around the NFL. The first major warning of the looming disaster came in Week 2 when the Dallas Cowboys crushed a disoriented, unprepared Eagles team at the Linc.

    Kelly’s arrogance slowly erased Lurie’s high regard for the supposed offensive genius. He didn’t show the accountability needed from a strong leader. The disaster became obvious during a brutal three-game November losing streak that ended with a 45-14 smackdown in Detroit with the entire nation watching on Thanksgiving.

    The Eagles pulled the plug at 6-9 and turned it over to interim head coach Pat Shurmur. The organization changed forever.

    Lurie pointed to the lack of emotional intelligence as a major reason for dismissing Kelly less than one year after giving him personnel control. The long-time owner has since shown reluctance to blame Roseman’s roster construction for problems on the field. 

    The 2015 Eagles provide possibly the most useful past indicator of future behavior. The events that unfolded revealed the organization’s preference for head coaches with leadership strengths over schematic hype. They hired Doug Pederson and Nick Sirianni based on that preference. They were both lesser-known candidates with offensive assistant coaching experience expected to bring intangible strengths. Lurie has viewed Roseman as the real driving force behind the team instead of the head coaches.

    Sirianni was supposed to bring strengths in situational football, game preparation, and player relationships rather than offensive scheme. However, his core principles did not show in 2023. The Eagles didn’t play like a team that accentuated the strengths of their head coach. Instead, they proved to be a flimsy team in the face of adversity.

    The offensive struggles in 2023 certainly won’t help Sirianni keep his job. However, the organization probably won’t make the decision based on the sluggish offense. How confident are Lurie and Roseman in the leadership of Nick Sirianni moving forward? The answer will determine whether or not Nick Sirianni remains on the sidelines in Philadelphia in 2024.

    Chip Kelly of the Philadelphia Eagles

  • Super Bowl or Bust- 2018

    The Philadelphia fan base lived in a state of euphoria through the summer of 2018 after the franchise’s first Super Bowl victory. They were booing a sluggish offense before halftime in Week 1. If the Eagles didn’t already realize it, the most passionate fan base in professional sports had set a high bar.

    Carson Wentz started the season on the sidelines, and he never found the same rhythm that made him one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL in 2017. Jalen Hurts struggled with similar obstacles in 2023.

    The 2018 Eagles proved they had some championship mojo left with a late-season surge into the playoffs and a victory in the NFC Wild Card Round with Nick Foles under center. Doug Pederson dealt with a difficult hand, but he found a way to bring the Eagles to the NFC Divisional Round.

    When adversity struck the 2023 Eagles, Nick Sirianni had no answers. His biggest move was to demote Sean Desai in favor of Matt Patricia. The defense performed significantly worse after the move.

    It’s tough for a head coach to handle the intensity of the Philadelphia fans in a “Super Bowl or bust” season. However, Pederson weathered the storm of an imperfect season and rode Foles to a respectable finish. Sirianni instead faded when trouble set in.

    Doug Pederson and Howie Roseman of the Philadelphia Eagles

  • Eagles Lose Pederson, Wentz- 2020

    Mounting issues converged in 2020. The talent from the Super Bowl LII roster was waning. Pederson and the front office disagreed about the construction of the offensive coaching staff. Wentz epicly collapsed.

    Pederson looked disinterested at times during the 2020 season. Media access during the pandemic made it more difficult for fans to see the whole picture, but the window of opportunity had closed. Pederson ultimately didn’t return as head coach.

    Lurie didn’t force blame onto Pederson. He justified the decision by prioritizing the best thing for the future of the Eagles rather than acting based on what was fair to Pederson. 

    The future of Brandon Graham, Jason Kelce, Fletcher Cox, and Lane Johnson provides a parallel to the need for a changing of the guard. However, Wentz’s regression was the primary concern after the 2020 season. The stability of a franchise quarterback affects an NFL franchise at such a high magnitude.

    The relationship between Pederson and Wentz played a major part in the organization’s decision to move toward a new era under Nick Sirianni. Their evaluation of the relationship between Sirianni and Hurts will be a factor in their decision this offseason.

    According to Tim McManus, the head coach/quarterback dynamic hasn’t been very good.

    “On top of those struggles, Jalen Hurts’ desired direction for the offense has not materialized, which has been a source of disappointment for the franchise quarterback, according to a source with direct knowledge of Hurts’ thinking. A disconnect between the visions of Sirianni, Hurts and offensive coordinator Brian Johnson has affected the offense’s ability to land on an identity, the source said.” -Tim McManus

    Lurie was willing to move on from Pederson so quickly after the Super Bowl victory partly because he had faith in Howie Roseman to construct a roster that could win under a new head coach who didn’t play as big of a role as the GM.

    The success of the Eagles under Sirianni in 2021 and 2022 validated that confidence. What’s to stop the cycle from continuing?

    Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz of the Philadelphia Eagles

  • Will the Eagles Fire Nick Sirianni?- 2023

    Sirianni never built the reputation for a fancy offensive scheme like Sean McVay or Kyle Shanahan. What he lacked in X’s and O’s he was supposed to make up for with careful preparation, strengths in situational football, emphasis on fundamentals and impactful core principles, the ability to empower assistant coaches, and intangible leadership qualities.

    The expected strengths did nothing to stop the Eagles from reeling down the stretch. Sirianni’s offensive game plans didn’t maximize the unit’s talent. Repeated mistakes proved the Eagles weren’t a disciplined team in 2023. The only change on the coaching staff inflated issues that already existed.

    His players have spoken with respect for him on a personal level. However, their performance on the field in the NFC Wild Card Round showed anything but belief in him as a football coach. The Eagles looked like they didn’t belong in the NFL playoffs under two months after they began 10-1. 

    The Eagles have done an excellent job transitioning to new head coaches. They won a playoff game in Andy Reid’s second season. They finished 10-6 in each of Chip Kelly’s first two seasons. They won their first Super Bowl in Doug Pederson’s second season. They advanced to another Super Bowl in Sirianni’s second season.

    Jeffrey Lurie and Howie Roseman believe they can do that again, and it looks like Nick Sirianni has coached his last game in Philadelphia. Don’t expect to see him as the head coach of the Eagles entering the 2024 season.

    Nick Sirianni, who could get fired by the Philadelphia Eagles

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