Andy Reid has no more excuses.
And this is coming from someone who followed Reid as a head coach for the Philadelphia Eagles for 14 seasons: 1999-2012. I am a Philadelphia native, so I have experienced Reid lead us to five NFC Championship games and only one Super Bowl appearance, a game in which a Tom Brady-led Patriots team won in dramatic fashion in the waning seconds thanks to a field goal by Adam Vinatieri, who is remarkably still in the league as a 46-year-old kicker on the Indianapolis Colts. While I am an avid fan of Brady as a quarterback — I think he is the greatest quarterback of all-time and it’s not close — several alleged cheating scandals have surfaced, including a Spygate scandal that may have very well impacted Super Bowl 39, a game in which my beloved Eagles lost 24-21. You understand why I don’t blame my quarterback Donovan McNabb, though he would go on to throw up in the huddle amid a very important drive.
We would, however, go on to get our payback in Super Bowl 53 — just two seasons ago — after a dramatic 41-33 win with indefatigable Nick Foles as our starting quarterback, my franchise’s first Super Bowl and second NFL championship in its 86-year history.
Former Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson is our head coach, and while he was the one at the helm as head coach during this historic championship season for the Eagles, he learned valuable lessons from Andy Reid, both as a coach in Kansas City from 2013 to 2015, and way back as a backup quarterback for my birds in 1999.
But Andy Reid hasn’t learned to beat Bill Belichick. And even with this precipitous task (Belichick has 6 Super Bowls in 9 tries), there aren’t any excuses.
For years, newspapers in Philadelphia would castigate Reid for bad clock management, passing the ball too much and his inability to make in-game adjustments and win the biggest game of the year, whether in a big-time game in the regular season, the playoffs, or the Super Bowl. Last season, the Chiefs lost to the Patriots in Week 6 and in the AFC Championship game.
In the first loss, pundits and critics of the game blamed then-Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton, who was later fired in January after a heartache of a conference championship game loss. In the playoff game, most prognosticators put the bulk of the blame on then Chiefs linebacker Dee Ford, who went offsides in just under a minute to play before Tom Brady threw an interception, which, at the time, certainly felt like the Chiefs had advanced to Super Bowl 53 for the first time since 1970.
But to no avail. Ford’s offsides mistake would allow Brady yet another chance, something you just don’t want to do to someone who has passed for 70,514 yards, 517 touchdowns, a rating of 97.6 and five Super Bowl wins in his career at the time. Brady’s gall spring-boarding the Patriots to their third straight Super Bowl would mean Ford would get traded to the San Francisco 49ers in March.
Combining the overhaul of the roster because of the 2019 draft (guard Nick Allegretti, defensive back Rashad Fenton, wide receiver Mecole Hardman and running back Darwin Thompson), free agents (running back LeSean McCoy, safety Tyrann Mathieu, defensive end Alex Okafor, linebacker Damien Wilson), trades (offensive tackle Martinas Rankin) and the departure of Kareem Hunt (Hunt is on the Browns), the Chiefs have made a bevy of moves to make their team better for this season, though last season appeared to be their best shot thus far at getting to the Super Bowl.
Still, Reid is the common denominator. After, all this is a guy who descended from the Mike Holmgren coaching tree. Since his time in the NFL, he has a career head coaching record of 130-93-1.
We know what he can do in the regular season, but too many times he has lost in games he was supposed to win. In 2002, he was absolutely supposed to win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC title game; in the 2004 season he should of positively ousted Belichick for my Eagles first Super Bowl; in 2014 he should of won versus the then-Andrew-Luck-led Colts after blowing a 28-point lead in the playoffs; and after a bevvy of disappointing early playoff exits with Alex Smith as the quarterback, Big Red should have won last year versus one of the more vulnerable Super Bowl Patriot teams since Brady has been in the league, although the Patriots did an exceptional job in holding the Chiefs to no points in the first half of last year’s AFC title game.
And Brady has been in the league since I was 15 years of age. With the new-age quarterbacks set to take over the reigns once Brady retires — if he ever retires — I bought my son a Carson Wentz jersey, and months ago my wife bought him a Patrick Mahomes jersey.
We know what Mahomes can do. He threw for 50 touchdowns and 5,097 yards in his first year starting as quarterback before winning the MVP, becoming the youngest winner since Dan Marino in 1984.
But if the Chiefs want to win the Super Bowl, Reid will have to get out of his own way. He will need to provide leadership, adjust game plans and learn from his past woes.
If he does this — along with correcting defensive ineptitude — the Chiefs have a chance.
If the Chiefs make it to the Super Bowl — my 22-month-old son could be wearing a Chiefs jersey or an Eagles jersey — Reid has no excuse. And it doesn’t matter if a team is rolling into the Super Bowl on a hot streak with an MVP candidate.
He has the team, the coaches, and with two decades of head coaching experience under his belt, he has no excuse.
Still, Fly Eagles Fly.