Oct 16, 2012, 4:00 PM EDT
Joe Banner actually stepped down as Philadelphia Eagles president months ago, but remained with the organization in a consulting role — until today. In all honesty, he was just biding his time while waiting to become part of an NFL ownership group, a goal Banner finally realized with the completion of Jimmy Haslam’s acquisition of the Cleveland Browns on Tuesday.
Haslam received unanimous support from the league’s 31 owners to purchase the Browns, then installed Banner as the organization’s CEO effective immediately. That knocks Andy Reid’s mentor Mike Holmgren out of the top job in Cleveland, and reports are he will “retire” upon this season’s conclusion.
The timing is purely coincidence, yet simultaneously uncanny. Yesterday, 3-3 felt blah, like this season could still go either way. After Reid’s dismissal of Juan Castillo this morning, there is suddenly a sense of chaos surrounding the team. On that note, Banner appears to be jumping ship at exactly the right moment, as this era of Eagles football quite possibly is beginning to circle the drain.
There was a belief held by many in the media that Banner was leaving for exactly this reason, that his power was dwindling, and all the while perhaps he could even foresee the direction things were headed. I’m still not sure that was the case. Banner needed a new challenge, and he’ll have his work cut out for him in taking over a hapless franchise like the Browns, only with higher stakes.
Yet it’s impossible not to look at the club’s arc over Banner’s time in Philadelphia, beginning when Jeffrey Lurie hired him in 1995 to where they find themselves today. As Banner moves on to lift another stagnant franchise out of the rubble, the organization he was so influential in building up in the first place is coming crashing back to earth it would seem.
Admittedly, that might be vastly overstating the magnitude of the two situations. After all, as of right now the Eagles are still a helluva lot closer to winning their first Super Bowl than Cleveland. But you have to ask yourself, will it be too far down the road before that’s no longer the case?
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