By Kent Larsen
Reid's Eagles Prepare For Playoffs
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA -- Andy Reid is not BYU's coach, and Philadelphia
Eagles' fans are glad. While BYU wanted to interview the NFL head coach and
LDS Church member, Reid was too busy with the Eagles' season to even talk
about the job. Instead, he has earned a 10-5 record this season, putting the
Eagles in the playoffs in his third year as their head coach.
The Eagles last played in the playoffs in 1996 under Reid's predecessor Ray
Rhodes. But Reid's style is very different than Rhodes, as a recent Daily
News article about the Eagles' security director, Anthony "Butch" Buchanico
makes clear. A former police officer from south Philadelphia and life-long
Eagles fan, Buchanico both serves as Reid's bodyguard and performs
background checks on prospective players.
When hired in 1996, two years before Reid came to the team, Buchanico was
one of the few security directors in the NFL. Now at least 15 teams have
security directors, and the NFL recently encouraged all teams to get them.
And under Reid, the information Buchanico has provided from background
checks has made a difference. For example, the Eagles passed on receiver
Randy Moss, now with the Minnesota Vikings, because they didn't like what
they saw. "It never would have worked here," is all Buchanico says about
Moss. "From my position he went out and got arrested while he had another
case hanging. Then he gets involved in a beef with a girl and gets an
assualt. If you can't walk the walk when he was supposed to, when are you
going to do it?"
On the other hand, Reid picked up offensive lineman Tra Thomas after
Buchanico's background check discovered that a controversial off-field
incident wasn't as bad as it seemed. "You've got to be very aware of those
things," says Reid. "Track records - you've got to be aware of those. Butch
does all the research on those things and gives us an idea about the player."
Another part of Buchanico's responsibilities is tracking the safety of the
players. When the team is on the road, he does 11 pm bed checks, and even in
those checks he sees a difference in Reid's choice of players over Rhodes.
"Ray's crew was up all the time," said Buchanico. "This crew, they're always
sleeping." The 1996 players were even accused of sexual assault before a
playoff game in San Francisco.
Buchanico says that things have improved on the field, also. "You can tell
he is on a mission," he says. "The first practice I saw - he had the coaches
moving and the players moving and it was like a symphony. When you go to
win, the guys with high character always come through. These guys shut up.
They play football. And they win. What more do you want?"
And all this has won over Philadelphia's fickle fans. Angry over the team's
management when Reid first arrived, the fans were dubious about his
abilities and qualifications. And they took it out on Reid's ample
waistline. "People got really ugly," recalls Buchanico, who said he told the
coach: "This ain't Green Bay. This is Philly, baby. It's the toughest room
you're gonna play. I think he was a little taken aback when he came here."
But Reid took the jokes in stride, now responding to the occasional joke
about his weight, saying "Did you hear that one? That's pretty good."
Now Buchanico says the fans' attitude towards Reid has completely changed.
"The people really like him," Buchanico said. "I wish I had a dollar for
every time I heard, " 'Yo, Andy.' " Still, Buchanico hasn't helped the
coach's waistline. Says Reid, thanks to Buchanico "I now know where all the
good restaurants are in South Philly."
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