WHEN THE EAGLES' season finally ends, not a moment too soon, will the media go skipping down the steps of the NovaCare Complex chanting, "no more pencils, no more books, no more coach's dirty looks"?

Or will they shout "Free at Last," out from under those demeaning, degrading day-after news conferences in which Andy Reid plays elusive mouse to the media's catlike inquisition. Funnier than any Tom & Jerry cartoon ever made, unless you're part of it.

All that coughing and wheezing, the writers feeling trapped in a Nyquil commercial.

Close, but no cigar smoke. What they have been, for the last two seasons, is one long rehearsal for a Coors Light ad.

Surely, you've seen 'em. Bunch of smart-aleck guys in their late 20s, early 30s, stand around with beer bottles in hand, tossing softball questions at an NFL coach at the podium: Dick Vermeil, Bill Walsh, Bill Parcells, Dennis Green.

The answers have been snipped from real, honest-to-goodness news conferences. The coach's personality comes through, the sentimental

Vermeil, the scholarly Walsh, the arrogant Parcells, the frustrated Green. Some of the answers are truly funny in the contrived

context. Some are clever, the laugh quotient tied to how much you know about the coach and how recognizable the quote.

This one disclaimer before we reveal the Reid version . . . in Philadelphia, it's the writers who turn blue.

Question: Yo, coach, you wanna join us for a couple of cold ones? We're going down to the Rathskeller in Bob's Volkswagen.

Reid: Harrrumph. I'm not gonna get into that.

Question: Too bad. Your quarterback was with us last week, got involved in a darts game, hit a waitress in the ankle with one dart.

Reid: Cough, sputter, brrrack. I'm sure there were a couple of throws he'd like to have back.

Question: Coach, you make it sound like a mulligan in golf. There are no do-overs in football, right?

Reid: Arrrgh. You go in that

direction, and I'm gonna go in

that direction. (Points to the

blinking red exit sign.)

Question: Sorry, coach, sorry. Can you help us understand why, on the train ride to Washington, it was so crowded, some of the players had to snooze in the

overhead luggage racks?

Reid: I've gotta do a better job of putting the players in a better position to make plays.

Question: Yo, coach, Les here got audited by the IRS and then he dropped a sixpack on an icy patch on the way home.

Reid: He picked a bad day to have a bad day. Les, you go ahead and write what you want to write.

Question: Dave Spadaro says that you're the best 7-8 team in the league.

Reid: We're a hair away.

Question: When this is over, will you join us in a chorus of 'Fly, Eagles, Fly' which might be the lamest fight song in the league?

Reid: Open your ears!

Question: Yo, coach, we're in this together. How about next week Mark brings in some stuff his grandma bakes and we scarf it down?

Reid: Listen, we all have a piece of the pie.

Question: Last thing, coach. I don't wanna say you've been cold, but look, all the labels have turned blue. *

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