I’ve spent a lot of time talking about how bad the Eagles were last year. I do, however, want to spend some time on the good years. Just how good were the Andy Reid Eagles at their peak?
To figure that out, we obviously have to first decide when the “peak” was. Which Andy Reid team was best?
The quick answer would be 2004, since that team went to the Super Bowl (and lost by a field goal to a team that may or may not have cheated). Indeed, the 2004 Eagles were very good. As I’ve shown, Point Differential is the best statistical indicator of team performance, and the 2004 Eagles recorded 124 more points than their opponents. Over the past 10 years, that leaves them in the 87th %tile, meaning that team was VERY good (obviously).
Quick note: I’ve added the 2000-2002 Eagles teams to my data set, so from now on the data will include the last 10 years PLUS those 3 Eagles teams, meaning there are 323 total team season in the set.
HOWEVER, that was not the best team performance under Andy Reid. In fact, the Eagles surpassed that +124 mark twice during Reid’s tenure; in 2001 (+135) and 2002 (+174).
The 2002 Eagles team, with PD of +174, ranks 12th overall in the entire data set, better than 96% of all teams during that timeframe (click to enlarge).
Additionally, the 2002 team had a TO Differential of +14, better than either the 2001 team (+9) or the 2004 Super Bowl team (+6.)
The Sack Differential points to 2002 as well, with that team registering 19 more sacks than their opponents, compared to +10 for the 2004 team and +5 for 2001.
This is a long way of saying that the 2002 Eagles team was, in my opinion (though largely supported by the data), the “best” of the Andy Reid era. Also, it’s pretty clear that the Eagles “peak was from 2001-2004. That itself will not surprise anyone.
What I find most shocking is that the last year of the Andy Reid “peak” was nearly 10 years ago…
It was definitely time for a change.
Lastly, for today, I’ll leave you with the Point Differential per year for the Eagles under Reid (1999 excluded). As you can see, there’s a pretty definitive down-trend over nearly the entire timeframe.
As I mentioned at the top, I’m going to spend some time illustrating how GOOD those Eagles teams were (2001-2004). Additionally, I’ll be looking for potential causes of the long-term decline in team performance.