Farewell, Joe Banner

Joe Banner is out as the president of the Eagles organization. This is shocking news to me at least as it seemed to me that Joe Banner was an unimpeachable figure. He showed up when Jeff Lurie bought the team back in 1994 and he’s been around ever since and now, 18 years later, he’s stepping aside. Kind of shocking that a guy who’s had a big hand in shaping this franchise over the past two decades is just leaving.

I can’t really speak to specifics but Joe Banner is widely regarded as one of the premier ‘capologists’ in the NFL, so much so that he helped shape the new salary cap structure in last year’s lockout. He’s largely credited as the maestro behind the Eagles’ cap savvy and his tough negotiating style is notorious amongst Eagles fans.

But some might say Joe Banner isn’t simply stepping aside, rather that he’s lost power within the organization and that there is hostility between Andy Reid, Howie Roseman and himself. Quite frankly, I don’t buy it but it doesn’t appear that doing so would be completely unreasonable. As a matter of fact, a quote from Joe Banner might just attest to that theory (link).

Banner, 59, said Wednesday that he hoped to “get involved with the world of buying and selling a sports team with the possibility of becoming part of a group that buys a team.”

If Joe Banner was riding into the sunset, ready to relax in his backyard sipping his Boston Lager while chowing down crab cakes, why is he saying he wants to buy a team? Wouldn’t that suggest he wants to go somewhere where he would have more of a say? His desire for more influence would certainly line up with reports that Andy and Howie have been the primary negotiators and personnel evaluators this offseason.

The media has been stirring this particular conspiracy pot for a while now. In February of last year there were reports that suggested Joe Banner was “lukewarm” about Andy Reid and about two months ago, an L.A. Times report suggested that Andy was in direct conflict with Joe Banner saying that Andy was “ready to walk away from the Eagles if he didn’t get more personnel control, and now he has it”. If these reports have any inkling of truth, chalk this battle up to Andy Reid and cross Joe off of Andy’s Christmas Card list.

How does this affect the Eagles? It’s impossible to say at this point but one of the primary influences in recent Eagles history is out the door* (he’s still an advisor by title but I’d assume it’s just that, a title and nothing else). His replacement is reportedly Don Smolenski and he’s not new to the Eagles organization, he’s been working with the Eagles since 1998. Lets hope Smolenski’s run as president of the Eagles is as good as Banner’s was because I’m already dreading the Smellenski jokes.


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