The Kansas City Chiefs have a chance to win their first Super Bowl since 1969 when they face the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV. But this is perhaps an even bigger game for Kansas City head coach Andy Reid. The NFL mainstay has never won a Super Bowl as a head coach.
Reid’s coaching career started in 1982 as a graduate assistant at BYU. After various stops in the collegiate ranks, Reid made his way to the NFL in 1992 when he joined Green Bay’s staff. He spent time coaching the offensive line, tight ends, and quarterbacks. While he was with the franchise, the Packers won Super Bowl XXXI.
Shortly after that, Reid was hired as a head coach and hasn’t looked back. First, he was with the Eagles from 1999-2012 and appeared in Super Bowl XXXIX. He’s now been with the Chiefs since 2013 and is set to make his second Super Bowl appearance as a head coach.
Reid is one of the NFL’s most successful head coaches, despite never winning a championship.
In 20 years as a head coach, Reid has a 207-138 record during the regular season, which is the most wins ever for a head coach who hasn’t won a Super Bowl. Though his playoff record is just 14-14, he has the sixth-most postseason wins among NFL head coaches and has probably already earned a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Known for his innovation with offensive schemes, Reid was one of the first coaches to blend what’s now known as RPO (run-pass option) — now run, at least partially, by just about every team in the league — with his West Coast-style of offense.
His coaching tree is one of the most impressive in the NFL, too. Some of Reid’s former assistants — including head coaches John Harbaugh (Ravens), Doug Pederson (Eagles), and Ron Rivera (then with the Panthers) — have all made it to the Super Bowl. Pederson and Harbaugh have both have Super Bowl rings. Other former assistants who are now head coaches include Matt Nagy (Bears) and Sean McDermott (Bills).
Reid has also coached the likes of Brett Favre, Michael Vick, and Donovan McNabb, and he helped quarterback Patrick Mahomes win the NFL’s MVP Award last season.
He’s had success everywhere he’s coached. He won 130 games with the Eagles, who appeared in 19 playoff games during his tenure. He led them to a Super Bowl in 2004, and left Philadelphia as the Eagles’ all-time winningest coach. Since getting hired by the Chiefs in 2013, the team has had a winning record each season. Reid has compiled a 77-35 record in Kansas City so far.
Wins and losses aside, Reid has the respect of players and coaches around the league.
It’s clear that many people in the NFL are rooting for Reid to get his first Super Bowl title. His Kansas City players have been talking a lot recently about winning a championship for their head coach.
Mahomes said that he might even be happier for Reid winning a Super Bowl than he would be for himself. Tight end Travis Kelce added that helping Reid get the monkey off his back is an extra incentive for the team.
“I love Coach Reid,” Kelce said also via Arrowhead Pride. “He is definitely a part of the motivation. We are sick of hearing what the media says about him and how he can’t get the big one done.”
Chiefs offensive tackle Eric Fisher, who was Reid’s first draft pick when he arrived in Kansas City in 2013, wants Reid to win one as badly as anyone.
“I want to win Coach Reid a Super Bowl more than anything,” Fisher said via The Athletic. “That guy deserves a Super Bowl. He’s worked and worked and worked and dedicated his life to this. Coach Reid needs a Super Bowl. We’ve got to get that for him.”
Safety Tyrann Mathieu, who’s only in his first season with the Chiefs, also couldn’t say enough good things about Reid.
“I’m so happy for Coach Reid,” Mathieu told NFL.com. “I say it all the time, but you think about his coaching tree. You think about all of the guys that he’s made into head coaches. A lot of guys that he’s really given opportunities to, especially minorities. You think about the players that have come up under him and their Hall of Fame-caliber. I think he’s a great coach and he’s all about his players and the team. Most importantly, he allows us to be ourselves.”
Former players sang Reid’s praises after the Chiefs’ AFC championship, too. McNabb congratulated his former coach on Twitter for reaching the Super Bowl:
So happy for the guy. Best I ever had as a coach. That’s my coach congratulations Andy Reid.. pic.twitter.com/CZ4GPk4WZv— Donovan McNabb (@donovanjmcnabb) January 19, 2020
Both Jeremy Maclin — who played under Reid as a receiver with the Eagles and Chiefs — and former Eagles running back Brian Westbrook chimed in:
Retired NFL offensive lineman, and SB Nation’s own, Geoff Schwartz was happy for Reid, as well:
Who doesn’t love Andy Reid. He’s the best y’all.— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) January 19, 2020
It’s not just his current or former players, however. People around the league, like Eagles center Jason Kelce and even Titans head coach Mike Vrabel, want to see Reid claim the Lombardi Trophy:
People around the league love Andy Reid. Seeing him win a Super Bowl, really the only thing he hasn't done, would mean the world to them. pic.twitter.com/thix7bAZgw— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) January 20, 2020
Reid doesn’t need a Super Bowl win to earn the respect of the league; he already has that. However, it would mean he could put an end to the talk of his teams not showing up when it matters.
A Super Bowl victory for Reid can help change the perception that he can’t win in big games.
Reid won a lot in Philly, but he led the Eagles to just one Super Bowl appearance: a 24-21 loss to the Patriots in the 2004 season. Reid went 10-9 in playoff games when he was in Philadelphia, but he finished just 1-4 in conference championship games.
Since Reid’s hiring in Kansas City, he’s 4-5 in playoff games. All of those losses came by a seven points or fewer.
His first postseason appearance with the Chiefs was particularly memorable for all the wrong reasons. In January 2014, his team blew a 28-point lead in a 45-44 loss to Indianapolis. It was the second-biggest playoff comeback in NFL history and also included Colts quarterback Andrew Luck scoring on a fumble recovery TD:
Four years later, the Chiefs surrendered an 18-point lead to lose to Tennessee by one point. In another bit of misfortune for Reid, Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota accidentally threw a touchdown pass to himself.
Last season, a big reason Kansas City came up short in the AFC title game was because of the NFL’s overtime rules (and Dee Ford going offside). The Patriots won the coin toss and scored a touchdown, so Mahomes and the Chiefs didn’t even have a chance to try to counter.
Those losses can’t all be chalked up to bad luck, though. Reid shares some of the blame. In the past, Reid has faced criticisms for his clock management, most glaringly two in the playoffs.
During his Eagles’ Super Bowl appearance against New England, Philadelphia had a chance to take a 14-7 halftime lead, but Reid opted to run out the clock instead, making it 7-7 at the half. Down 24-14 with 8:40 left, Reid’s offense lacked the urgency to score quickly, and the Eagles lost by a field goal.
Something similar happened when the Chiefs played the Patriots in January 2016. In the divisional matchup, the Chiefs were trailing 27-13 with 6:29 remaining. They would score on a 16-play drive, but it took a more than five minutes and they never got the ball back. Kansas City lost 27-20.
So far this postseason, Reid has already done a good job of changing that narrative. The Chiefs overcame a 24-0 deficit against the Texans to win 51-31. Kansas City fell in an early 17-7 hole against the Titans but quickly came back. In the process, the Chiefs made history:
According to @EliasSports, the Chiefs are the 1st team in NFL history with multiple games in one postseason in which they trailed by 10+ in the first half, and took the lead at some point thereafter in the first half. pic.twitter.com/M0BxRxAOAt— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 19, 2020
Despite a few dumb mistakes against the Titans that could’ve threatened the outcome of the game, none of them cost the Chiefs a trip to Super Bowl. That’s another sign that the tide could be turning for Reid.
It’s no secret that Reid is an excellent head coach, but he’s still chasing that first elusive Super Bowl win.
Reid deserves a lot of credit for what he’s done this season. The Chiefs finished 12-4, with victories over the Ravens and Patriots in the regular season. He also guided the team to a 2-1 record when it was without Mahomes, who dislocated his kneecap, for 2.5 games.
Heading into the Super Bowl, Kansas City has won eight games in a row, the NFL’s longest current win streak. Mahomes has resumed his MVP form; in two playoff games, he has scored nine touchdowns with no turnovers, and he’s dazzled with his arms and legs.
So far, the stars are aligning for Reid to win a Super Bowl. But the Chiefs still have to get past the 49ers to do that. For Reid, he wants to win for his players, not for himself.
“We need to win this for the guys, for the team,” Reid said, according to Peter King. “It can’t be about one guy. It’s got to be for everybody.”
Even if Reid doesn’t want to make it about himself, his story is a big part of Super Bowl 54. And if the Chiefs win, he can finally complete his coaching legacy with the one thing it’s been missing.