Joe Banner is a remarkable business man. He can negotiate a contract like no one I have ever seen. Though he is not tall in stature, his presence certainly packs a punch. Banner reviews and analyzes numbers with the best of them, but he was always a media issue. I remember countless interviews where he would be criticized for being brash or rude. Banner wasn’t either of those things. He simply made a choice to only discuss business whether the media liked it or not (most of the time they did not). That all came to a screeching hault when it was announced that Banner would be replaced by current COO Don Smolenski.
Working closely together for years, Banner and Smolenski share the same ideals, but have somewhat different personalities. Smolenski ignites a lighter, still serious and business-minded, era in Philadelphia. Fourteen years of dedication to the city, team and staff brought about the day Smolenski says he experienced “a whole spectrum of emotions” as he officially became the President of the Philadelphia Eagles, but what does this move really equate to?
Banner brought a lot of revenue to the Eagles, was the big push behind Lincoln Financial Field being built and maintained a salary cap that was pure heaven. There was never any shortage of Reid being held accountable under Banner’s watch as he never found a problem saying the word ‘no.’ If you don’t believe Banner was pushed out you probably thought the hype of the ‘Dream Team’ would equate to a Super Bowl Championship. Smolenski becoming President equals autonomy for Andy Reid no matter how you slice it and that’s something I don’t think is acceptable. Regardless of the position anyone holds within an organization, they should have to answer to someone. It’s a slippery slope without anyone to play devil’s advocate. Eagles fans, expect to see a new contract for Reid within the next few months.
All of that being said, I cannot imagine anyone more deserving of the move to team President than Smolenski is. Promoting from within only strengthens my respect for the Eagles organization. Smolenski is undoubtedly going to grant interviews and arrive with a smile. Contracts will be handled and fantastic business moves will be made. Smolenski clearly has his heart and mind in the right place after viewing press conference notes. He stated, “the primary focus is to win a championship.” Let’s hope the entire organization keeps their eyes on the prize!