So I'm all gassed up to write a glowing review of Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid when I make the mistake of asking former NFL linebacker...

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — So I’m all gassed up to write a glowing review of Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid when I make the mistake of asking former NFL linebacker Bryan Cox about Terrell Owens.


“Bill Belichick wouldn’t have that (stuff),” Cox barked, referring to the T.O. will-he-or-won’t-he circus.



Cox, who played on Belichick’s first Super Bowl team, went on to explain how Owens’ look-at-me actions are divisive to team chemistry.


I can’t say for sure that Cox is right. But I can say for sure that if the Eagles get whipped in Super Bowl XXXIX today, the experts are going to question Reid’s handling of the Eagles in the days immediately after their NFC championship victory over the Atlanta Falcons.



Unlike Belichick’s New England Patriots, Reid’s Eagles have stayed in the news. Receiver Freddie Mitchell kicked things off by going on ESPN and proclaiming that he didn’t know the names of any of the New England defensive backs, except for safety Rodney Harrison, whom Mitchell promised a pregame gift.


Why was Mitchell shaking a stick at the angriest Patriot? No one knows. Why did he think it was appropriate or acceptable? No one knows that, either. It does, however, reflect poorly on Andy Reid.



The Eagles can’t match the Patriots’ Super Bowl experience. Reid appears to be running a loose ship. Owens proclaimed on media day that God healed his ankle and that it doesn’t matter what the team doctors have to say about his injury. T.O. will suit up today, it seems, solely because he wants to. He doesn’t care what Reid or the Eagles have to say about his health.


Mitchell and Owens have pushed Reid out on a pretty shaky limb. He’s coaching in the biggest game of his life, and one underachieving receiver and another attention-starved receiver are making things complicated and difficult. The Philly media and fan base won’t be forgiving if things go terribly wrong today.



Reid’s terrific accomplishments won’t save him from major backlash. It’s too bad because Reid is a fantastic coach who can’t get his proper due because we in the media arrived in Jacksonville determined to baptize Belichick in the name of Lombardi, Landry and Chuck Noll.


See ya, Bill Parcells and Jimmy Johnson, Belichick is the greatest football coach of the last 25 years.



The only thing standing between Belichick and immortality is big ol’ Andy Reid, who is a pretty fair coach himself. Reid led the Eagles to four straight division titles and NFC Championship Games. He developed Donovan McNabb into a top-shelf quarterback. He’s handled the dual responsibilities of being the Eagles’ head coach and general manager.


And this year he navigated the Eagles through the NFC playoffs when the team could have easily folded without T.O. I mean, the Eagles spent a ton of money acquiring Owens just for the playoffs. When an injury sidelined him, it would have been easy for the Eagles to lose confidence.



It didn’t happen. Philly played its best football of the season.


So why did Bryan Cox scare me? So why did Cox make me contemplate the idea of the Eagles getting spanked today?



It’s because the Eagles are starting to strike me as a team that’s just happy to be here. There was so much pressure on the Eagles to win the NFC championship that maybe they don’t have the discipline or focus to go at this game properly.


The Pats have eyed this game all year. The Eagles eyed the NFC championship. That was their destination, their Super Bowl. It’s so easy to get distracted Super Bowl week. Players get pushed and pulled in every direction. Do you think Freddie Mitchell didn’t know that his comments on ESPN would stir controversy? Of course he knew. He wanted to put himself in the center of the Super Bowl story. It’s no different than T.O. doing the “Monday Night Football” promo with the Desperate Housewife. T.O.’s attitude, good and bad, permeates the Philadelphia football team.



Reid’s inability to control the negative aspects of T.O.’s attitude might just cost the Eagles today. That’s too bad. Reid is an outstanding coach.