Banner Wrap

Posted: June 11th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 25 Comments »

I’ve done a lot of reading, watching, listening, and digging in the past few days. I have come to the conclusion that none of us is completely sure how Joe Banner’s departure from the Eagles really happened.  No matter what angle you try to come up with, something doesn’t make sense.

Let’s deal with what we do know.

The Winner – Howie Roseman.  Forget the talk of Andy Reid winning a power struggle.  Andy is one mediocre season away from re-uniting with Joe Banner to rebuild some other franchise.  Howie Roseman is the winner.  He’s no longer “Joe’s guy”.  Howie is Howie.  He has filled the Personnel Dept. with his own guys and they should be loyal to him.  He is in charge of the draft.  He is the lead negotiator.  He’s increasingly becoming a face of the franchise.

Last week Matt Lombardo of 97.5 offered up a really interesting nugget.  According to Matt, Adam Schefter said that “at least 2 teams plotted to hire Roseman away from ‪Eagles‬ if they thought he could be hired away.”‪  Now that is an interesting development, if true.

The Figurehead – Joe Banner.  Is it ironic that the same week the Queen turned 100, Joe stepped down.  The Queen has been a figurehead for ages and ages.  Joe had just become one in the last year.  Joe was a salary cap genius a decade ago, but that’s no longer a great skill.  He’s like the guy who invented the great offense or defense that now everyone in the league runs so it is no longer special.  With Howie becoming the primary negotiator and Don Smolenski on top of the non-football stuff, Joe was managing people and not actually tackling issues.  This is not something Joe was all that keen on.

The Survivor – Andy Reid.  Did Joe actually want Andy fired?  I’d love to know this.  Joe made some strong and strange comments in recent years.  Was he trying to back Andy into a corner or was Joe simply playing to the fans?  Impossible to say.

Joe’s departure doesn’t really benefit Andy all that much from what I can tell.  Andy already had control of the roster.  The presence of Juan Castillo tells you that Andy has control of his coaching staff.  Andy and Joe butted heads on some issues from time to time, but I don’t directly know of anything that would constitute a power struggle.

What I could see is Andy going to Lurie and asking for Howie to be the lead negotiator.  Andy wouldn’t do this to push Joe out of the way.  Andy would just want the players handled differently so they wouldn’t be as pissed off when it was time for contract negotiations.  If Reid did this, the power would go to Roseman, not him.  That’s why I’m not so keen on the term “power struggle”.

If this was 2008, I think that term would make sense.  Joe had more power then.  There was some drama.  I just don’t see that as the case now.  Maybe I’m naive, but I’m trying to use logic.  What power did Joe have over Andy in the last year that Andy wasn’t happy about?  If I’m missing something, let me know.

What was the true timeline?   This is where I’m definitely confused.  The official story is a mixture of truth and spin.  We just don’t know what is what.  Did Lurie make the suggestion to Joe last year that it might be time to move on?  Did Joe make an off-the-cuff remark about missing the challenges of the old days that turned out to plant a thought-seed for both men?

Joe and Lurie say this all started in February of 2011.  Life in Philly was pretty awesome through Sept. 1, 2011.  It wasn’t until the team hit 1-4 and then later 4-8 that the Eagles season was bad enough to really get people riled up.  That’s when you start to think about “what is the image of the franchise?” type of stuff.  That level of disappointment led Lurie to make a public announcement on Reid, after meeting with him privately.  Did Lurie and Joe have a meeting on his future?

Was Joe crazy enough to think the Eagles could go win the 2011 Super Bowl and then he could walk away?  Did he plant the idea with Lurie while planning to go out on top?  Seems ludicrous, but Joe knew the team was very talented and would be able to do really well in free agency.

We don’t know.  Frankly, it isn’t all that critical, but it certainly is interesting.  Joe was a huge part of the Eagles success.  Trying to understand his departure is worth discussing.  Finding out the truth won’t change anything, but it would help us to understand Lurie’s thinking and actions.  I don’t think enough people give Lurie credit for being a smart guy.  He’s got a great education, but aside from that, he makes smart decisions (mostly) and is willing to listen to people.

Need for challenges.   Joe said he wants new challenges.  Some reporter responded by asking why winning a Super Bowl wasn’t enough of a challenge.  Ugh.  Gimme a break.  The 2012 Eagles Super Bowl chances will be affected by Joe as much as they will be by me, the Queen, Mike Labinjo, and Captain Jonathan S. Tuttle.  That’s part of the whole point.  Joe is no longer needed to get things done.

I totally believe Banner when he talks about wanting to turn around another franchise.  I still don’t know when this idea went from random thought while walking down the beer aisle to actual point of interest.

Joe has an ego.  He wants to be needed.  He wants to be important.  I don’t blame him one bit. I’m sure if he thought something he did in the next 6 months would win a Super Bowl, he’d be totally committed to that.  I cannot imagine a situation where Joe would affect the current team in any significant way.

What are the benefits to Joe’s departure?  It helps with public perception.  I like hearing Joe talk because he was willing to tell some good stories.  Most people hated hearing him speak.  Joe had a knack for saying the wrong thing.  There was the year he talked about the exciting offseason planes the Eagles had…and we added Mark Simoneau and Nate Wayne.  That is a mixed message, to put it mildly.

The Eagles are a brand.  From 2000-2004 the team was winning big.  The team had a traditional franchise QB.  The on the field Eagles were good enough to sell the brand.  And who was the competition?  The Sixers had AI and one glorious year, but that was it.  The Phillies won 86 games a year, but had no elite stars and didn’t go to the postseason.  The Flyers were a good team that always made it to the playoffs, but couldn’t take the next step.  The Eagles ruled.

Times have changed.  The Eagles aren’t winning big.  The Sixers are a young team on the rise (hopefully).  The Flyers have Claude Giroux, who is said to be one of the top 5 players in the world.  The Phillies have won the NL East 5 straight years.  They won a World Series title and lost in another WS appearance.  Things are rough in 2012, but the franchise is still in a good place overall.  The Eagles have to work a little harder to control the market.  Philly is still an Eagles town, but there is more competition for every dollar.  Having the right image and the right people to sell your brand is now more important than ever.  I don’t think Joe helped in that sense.

Taking Joe out of negotiations with players could help a lot.  As one of the commenters said last week…”even when you won, he made  you feel like you lost”.  There is a lot of truth in that statement.  Most agents understood Joe even if they didn’t like actually negotiating with him. No players liked him.  They took it personally when it was all business to Joe.  He negotiated the way that Dawk played.  That’s fine most of the time, but there are times to realize the commodity in question isn’t concrete, plastic, or metal, but rather a person. And people have feelings.  Some can set the business stuff aside, but not all.  More than a couple of players got rubbed the wrong way.

In the old days, no big deal.  In 2012, when player egos are at an all time high and they must be handled a certain way, big deal.  Gotta keep them as happy as possible to keep them playing good football.  As I say that, Vince Lombardi just rolled over in his grave.

* * * * *

Les Bowen offered some more thoughts on the situation.  Both are “must read” material.

Here is his Eagletarian post from Sunday.

And here is his follow up from Monday.

* * * * *

Bob Ford had an interesting column last week.  Here is the one part I really liked:

Joe couldn’t help himself. He used to show up at The Inquirer’s office with his ruler and spreadsheets and complain that the Phillies were getting too much coverage compared to the Eagles – during the Phils’ World Series run! He’d drag along the public relations lackey of the moment, whoever had the unenviable job of calling up reporters to mouthpiece Banner’s complaint of the day. And Banner would complain to media outlets about the tone of the coverage and tried to manipulate which journalists were assigned to write about the team. Oh, it was a merry time.

* * * * *

In case you somehow missed it, here is Sam’s write-up on Banner.  Absolutely must read material.

25 Comments on “Banner Wrap”

  1. 1 Matthew Verhoog said at 4:14 PM on June 11th, 2012:

    Everything they said about Banner’s departure was true,
    I just wonder what other true things were left unsaid.

    Good organizations keep secrets
    Bad organizations don’t
    Evil organizations …

  2. 2 ChaosOnion said at 4:26 PM on June 11th, 2012:

    Joe Banner is leaving because Joe Banner leaving is no big deal.

  3. 3 Donald Kalinowski said at 5:36 PM on June 11th, 2012:

    You’re still on the Banner/Reid issue? Boooooooooooring

  4. 4 Alex Karklins said at 5:50 PM on June 11th, 2012:

    Hey, I’ll take it. Reading about Reid/Banner beats my other method for waiting out this never-ending postseason:

  5. 5 TommyLawlor said at 5:50 PM on June 11th, 2012:

    Fair enough. This is the final day. Tomorrow we have OTAs to discuss.

  6. 6 Steven Dileo said at 7:11 PM on June 11th, 2012:

    Good. I might have had to resort to reading bloggingthebeast

  7. 7 TommyLawlor said at 8:25 PM on June 11th, 2012:

    You should check Jimmy’s site everyday. He gave up his bid to become a priest in order to start that site.

  8. 8 A_T_G said at 2:05 AM on June 12th, 2012:

    Personally, I was hoping to read a review of the guys Peters selected to represent him in court- toughness, instincts, etc. Also, any inside scoop on the results of any preliminary court fillings would be interesting. I know you tell a lot this early, but any grammatical errors or missed deadlines could be a red flag about one of the attorneys.

  9. 9 babapsu said at 6:05 PM on June 11th, 2012:

    if andy would get fired after this season, i can’t think of anyone i would want to replace him. i just don’t see a no-brainer, home run hire out there.

    any thoughts TL??

  10. 10 Yuri said at 6:09 PM on June 11th, 2012:

    Are player egos at all-time high in 2012? Discuss.

  11. 11 Steve H said at 6:13 PM on June 11th, 2012:

    I think human beings egos are at an all time high in 2012.

  12. 12 Steven Dileo said at 6:55 PM on June 11th, 2012:

    No! I won’t discuss.

    Okay, I will.

    I really don’t think so. I’ve only been following football since the late 90’s but I’ve heard stories of Dion Sanders, Ricky Henderson and Leon Lett that makes me believe that players have eased down on their egos.

    The best WRs in the game today- Calvin Johnson, Andre Johnson, Larry Fitz
    Best WRs in 2004- Randy Moss and T.O
    HUGE difference.

  13. 13 A_T_G said at 1:57 AM on June 12th, 2012:

    I don’t think increased egos are what diminished Banner’s value in negotiations. I think it is more of a function of the cap restrictions. A decade ago, tough, hard-nosed negotiations allowed the team to maximize the number of quality players on the squad. Today, with a less restrictive cap, a softer hand that doesn’t drive players away to set an example might be more expensive, but it maximizes the talent level.

  14. 14 D3Keith said at 7:14 PM on June 11th, 2012:

    The whole column makes Banner seem completely reasonable … then the manipulating the media bit just restore the douchey shine.

    Lol @ “the one part I really liked.” Not intended as such I’m sure, but reads like a backhanded compliment.

  15. 15 TommyLawlor said at 8:23 PM on June 11th, 2012:

    We’ve heard writers/reporters hint at Banner’s media stuff, but for someone to come out and say that as is…pretty wild. I had no idea Joe went that far. Crazy.

  16. 16 austinfan said at 7:50 PM on June 11th, 2012:

    This offseason showed it is Howie’s team.
    The deal with DeSean was as tough as anything Joe ever negotiated.
    Shady got a good deal, but nothing like Chris Johnson, fair, but no giveaway.
    The Mathis deal was solid, but nothing outrageous.
    The Herremans and Trent deals were similar to Westbrook, enough money to keep a veteran who outperformed his contract happy, but not enough to hamstring the team.

    Note they dumped Asante for some used footballs to free up cap room (and get rid of a headache).

    The difference between Howie and Joe is Howie got Rosenhaus to take the same deal that Joe would have forced on him but allowed him to save face. He gave away some money to veterans, after cutting loose a veteran who wore out his welcome. to pay for the deal. He gave the star RB star money, but structured to only put the team at risk of significant dead money for three seasons. Yet no one’s feathers were ruffled (well, maybe Asante).

    It’s business as usual, two young QBs behind the veteran, stocking up on young OL behind Mathis and Herremans, young DL behind the 4 30 year old starters, two young LB starters, a young CB behind the veteran, and a young slot CB behind the veteran. The only unfinished business is making a decision about extending DRC.

    If Andy comes up short, the talent will be there for the next coach.
    Howie will be here in 2013, Andy has no such guarantee.

  17. 17 Jim Reynolds said at 11:11 PM on June 11th, 2012:

    Regarding power struggles, I’ll always want to know what happened in the game @ Baltimore in 2008. McNabb struggled in the 1st half, but the game was not out of reach by any means. The Eagles trailed 10-7 at halftime, their lone score by Quentin Demps who returned a kick 100 yards for a TD.

    Someone decided to bench McNabb at halftime in favor of Kevin Kolb. The Eagles went on to lose 36-7. Kolb went 10-23 for 73 yards and 2 INTs.

    We do know that McNabb was not at his best most of the 2008 season going into week 12. The Eagles, uh, ended up tied in one game, and were 4-5-1 before the loss to Baltimore. Fortunately, they went on a tear, won the final 5 games, had playoff wins on the road against MIN and NYG.

    Maybe something about benching McNabb caused a light to go on. 2009 was his 2nd or 3rd best season in his career. To this day, though, I’m not certain that it was Andy Reid who benched McNabb. Perhaps we’ll never know.

  18. 18 TommyLawlor said at 11:42 PM on June 11th, 2012:

    Donovan was 8-18-59 with 2 INTs. And he was a 10 year vet. The fact Kevin matched him shows you how bad Donnie played in that game.

    Score was 12-7 at the end of 3 Qtrs. Things fell apart in the 4th, but wasn’t all on Kevin.

    I have no doubt that Andy benched Dononvan. McNabb played poorly the week before in the tie w/ Cincy. Kolb was in his 2nd year and Reid wanted to spark the team so he rolled the dice.

    The BAL game was Donnie’s 3rd straight completing less than 50% of his passes. Major cold streak for him.

  19. 19 goeagles55 said at 1:00 AM on June 12th, 2012:

    I think that was 100% Reid. That’s a coach’s decision. If an executive told the head coach of 9 years to bench his QB of the last 8.5 years at halftime of a 3 point game, any coach would refuse. If you’re going to coach my team from the owner’s suite, fire me.

  20. 20 rage114 said at 6:54 AM on June 12th, 2012:

    This topic is not boring (maybe my sarcasm meter is off today) and I’m glad it is still being discussed.

    I think people are getting too bogged down with the term “power struggle”. I have used it too, a matter of fact.

    But I don’t think it is the right term. I think there was a divergence in how AR and Banner wanted to get things done. Perhaps AR evolved with the times (new game = new strategy) and Banner didn’t (he wanted to do things in 2011 the same he did them in 2001). Perhaps it some other chance in philosophy.

    Whatever the stressor, it seems obvious to me that AR’s philosophy won out over Banner’s. That does not mean AR usurped some power….just that you can’t have two different directions for the ship. You have to go in one direction or the other and AR’s direction won out.

  21. 21 TommyLawlor said at 8:56 AM on June 12th, 2012:

    I needed to get out some final thoughts, but people seem to have gotten tired of talking about Joe. I’ll answer any follow-up questions / comments. Not boring to some of us, but we seem to be the minority.

  22. 22 rage114 said at 7:10 AM on June 12th, 2012:

    Also, I am not going to properly articulate this because I just don’t have the writing skills to do so but I don’t think Roseman “won” as much as is being portrayed. Yes, he now has more power so in that sense he did. But more or even comparable to AR? I don’t think so.

    Howie was hired by Banner. True. So he is a Banner guy? This is where I don’t think that is true (anymore). If he was a Banner guy, he would be out the door with him….or he at least wouldn’t be the man to replace him.

    IMO, Howie’s philosophy changed over time. I think that came around to AR’s way of thinking.

    Let me back up. There has been a lot of stories/anecdotes/reports/evidence that AR gains the trust and loyaly of his players, coaches, and other people that work with and around him. There is no reason to think that he also didn’t gain the trust and loyalty of Howie. Howie came in at a very low level. AR was already the big man on campus. He has learned just as much from AR as Banner over the past 10 years, even if it was Banner who hired him and it was Banner’s philosophy that he was tied to originally. This is common in everyday life. You are hired by one boss and you share many of the same ideas as that one boss. But over time in a company, it is common place for those ideas to change.

    I don’t want to suggest AR and Howie teamed up against Banner because I don’t think that is the case at all. I just think — over time — Howie started to side a little more, and a little more with AR in these “team” decisions that are always being mentioned.

    And if he is approaching these negotiations with the same attitude/philosophy as AR, then in essence, he is a Reid guy.

  23. 23 TommyLawlor said at 8:55 AM on June 12th, 2012:

    Joe was a certain guy because he lived on the numbers side of things. Howie started off that way, but as GM he had to deal with players as people and not just a commodity. You can’t help but change the way you see them.

    Howie also may have more of a desire to be popular with players. Joe was the owner’s right hand man. He was safe. He didn’t need players to like him. Howie worked his way up the ladder. He wasn’t coming from the same perspective and that may have given him more of a need to be liked.

    And I’m sure the more that Howie worked with Andy, the closer they became. Andy isn’t a tyrant. He has final say, but he’s not going to overrule Howie on late round picks and lower level FAs. Andy will listen to Howie and the scouts and make a choice based on the info they give him. It always feels good when someone like that listens to you and genuinely works with you.

  24. 24 austinfan said at 7:07 PM on June 12th, 2012:

    I’m not sure is was a matter of a “need to be liked,” than simply Howie had a long tenure when he could interact with players and coaches as someone who wasn’t a threat, so he could learn to relate to these people. Joe started on top, out of the business world, and really didn’t have intimate contact with players or coaches, and given his relationship with Lurie, it would be hard for them to be open with him.

    I do think Howie learned from a lot of people, he’s bright, he’s spent most of his adult life in this organization learning the ropes, and has probably spent a lot of time at dinner and over drinks with scouts, interns, assistant coaches and some players. While he’s not a “footbal guy,” he spent plenty of time with football guys. You pick up stuff by osmosis.

    It also may simply come down to a personality thang, among lawyers, you have different types, there’s a big personality difference between litigators and negotiators. Joe was a “scorched earth” personality, he wanted to win for the sack of winning, that kind of competitiveness is normal in head coaches and successful businessmen, but it’s not what you really want in a manager – because if you’re winning, who’s losing? I don’t think Howie’s a pushover, rather, achieving rather than winning is what drives him, he’s happy to be self-effacing if it helps him achieve his goals.

    I think Joe would have loved to have won a SB so he could give a finger to the Philly media, Howie would love to win a SB but he’d never blow his horn or settle scores, he’d just bask in the knowledge of a job well done.

  25. 25 Jeff Spencer said at 3:45 PM on June 12th, 2012:

    First off, great read Tommy. Secondly, shame on the rest of you for not jumping on the Captain Tuttle reference. Doesn’t everyone have every M*A*S*H episode memorized? Nice work Tommy!