By Sam Bush
Remember Andy Reid, the slow-thinking, slow-walking, never-adjusting Eagles coach from 1999-to-2012?
He was Mr. Consistency — always stuck to his list of the first 15 plays that he had created for each game. even if conditions on the field caused them to fail?
Well, 12 years ago he actually had a moment of spontaneity.
Back in 2002, Fox announcer and former Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman was announcing a game when Andy Reid called Aikman during the game to offer him the Eagles quarterback job.
During an interview with Dallas’ KESN-FM 103.3 this week, Aikman, who retired after the 2000 season, explained how the situation went down.
“We were in San Diego doing the game. We did a game break and said that Donovan McNabb had been injured,” Aikman told the Dallas Morning News. “He had broken his leg. Then we got to halftime and my producer got into my ear and said, ‘Hey, I need you to call this number.'”
McNabb had broken his ankle in a win over the Cardinals, but Aikman hadn’t put two and two together yet and he was slightly alarmed that someone was trying to reach him at halftime of a game he was announcing.
“[My producer’s] never done that,” Aikman said. “He’s never done it before and he’s never done it since. I said, ‘Well who is it?’ He said, ‘Well it’s Andy Reid.’ I said, ‘Oh man.’ He said, ‘He says he wants you to call him at halftime.’ I said, ‘Well we’re doing a game.’ He said, ‘No, he wants you to call him.'”
Reid clearly doesn’t take no for an answer and his persistence eventually paid off because Aikman ended up calling him at halftime.
“So I went outside, I had no cell service,” Aikman said. “I had to get out on the concourse there at Jack Murphy Stadium and I got him on the phone. He said, ‘Hey, did you hear what happened.’ I said, ‘Yeah, we did a game break.’ He said, ‘Well I want to talk to you about coming to Philadelphia.’ I said, ‘Andy, we’re in the middle of a broadcast. It’s halftime right now.’ He said, ‘I know, I’m watching the game.’ So I said, ‘OK, I’ll call you after the game.'”
After the game, Aikman didn’t call Reid right away, he called two other people first.
“I was on my way to Santa Barbara. I had a home in Santa Barbara at the time and I called two people on the way up to Santa Barbara,” Aikman said. “I called my producer and talked to him about my future in television and I called Norv Turner, and I said I just want to get your thoughts. I called Andy back and I said, ‘Andy, look. I have to sleep on this. I call you in the morning.'”
Since Aikman never played for the Eagles, you can probably predict how this story ends.
“I got back to Santa Barbara and this was around November or whenever it was and I woke up and I’m thinking, ‘I can either enjoy the next couple of days in Santa Barbara, California, it’s about 65, 70 degrees, or I’m going to be on a plane flying to Philadelphia and probably going to be playing on Monday night against the 49ers,” Aikman said. “I called Andy and I said, ‘Hey, I’m honored that you’ve called me, but I’m going to stay put.'”
Aikman seems to have made the right choice, 12 years later, he’s still in the Fox announcing booth.
As for the Eagles, they went 5-1 without McNabb, who returned for the divisional round of the playoffs. Philadelphia won that game over the Falcons before losing to the Buccaneersin the NFC title game.