He is coaching the defending Super Bowl champions with a shot at becoming the first coach since Bill Belichick in the 2003-04 seasons to win a second straight Vince Lombardi Trophy. So there’s really no debating Andy Reid has become one of the greatest coaches in NFL history and almost certainly will have a Hall of Fame bust in Canton one day.
But it wasn’t all that long ago that Reid was lumped into the Hall of the Very Good category of coaches. A guy who could win a bunch of divisional titles and get to the playoffs on a consistent basis, but a coach with one very obvious and very painful shortcoming on his resume: He couldn’t win the big one.
Yes, that was once Reid’s legacy.
Just ask any Eagles fan.
Reid had done a mostly terrific job with Philadelphia after his unexpected ascension from Brett Favre’s quarterbacks coach in Green Bay to the Eagles’ head coaching job in 1999. He developed Donovan McNabb into a playoff-caliber quarterback, then helped Michael Vick resurrect his career, and all the while dominated the NFC East on a regular basis. Reid got the Eagles to the playoffs nine times from 2000-2010.
Despite all those playoff runs, Reid had gotten the Eagles to the Super Bowl only once – losing to the Patriots after the 2004 season – and went 10-9 in the postseason, including 1-4 in NFC Championship Games.
And by the time he finished 4-12 in 2012 – this after going 8-8 the year before with what had been dubbed the "Dream Team" because of all the veteran free agents assembled – no one disagreed it was time for a change.
Not even Reid himself, who acknowledged it was best for both sides to move on.
One career change later, and Reid has answered any and all questions about just how good he is as a coach. He has taken Kansas City to the playoffs six straight years, has developed Patrick Mahomes into the best quarterback in today’s NFL and is now one game away from becoming just the 14th coach to win more than one Super Bowl.
PS: The Eagles have been mostly a mess since Reid’s departure. Yes, they won their first and only Super Bowl under Reid protégé Doug Pederson after the 2018 season, but they’re already on their third head coach after Pederson’s ouster last month.
At 62, Reid is in the prime of his career. And with Mahomes having enjoyed a meteoric rise at age 25, Reid may be presiding over the NFL’s next dynasty. And while he might not match the incredible feats of the Bill Belichick-Tom Brady Patriots, who went to nine Super Bowls and won six rings in Brady’s 20-year career with New England, the Reid-Mahomes tandem might very well dominate pro football for the foreseeable future.
Reid has most assuredly gone from the Hall of the Very Good to the Hall of Fame, and has affixed his stamp of greatness on pro football.
Already one of the great offensive strategists the game has ever known, drawing on the roots of the Bill Walsh coaching tree, Reid has developed Kansas City into a perennial Super Bowl contender and a team that could go down as one of the best ever.
But only if they go on to beat Brady and the Buccaneers on Sunday and add at least one more Super Bowl title – and possibly more – to take full advantage of this delightful mix of coaching genius and quarterback brilliance.
"The thing that I’m most proud of is that no one has become satisfied," Mahomes said Wednesday during a Zoom call from Kansas City’s training facility. "No one has become happy with winning one Super Bowl championship. Everybody’s trying to make themselves better every single day … You don’t have that in every single organization."
Credit Reid for instilling that mentality.
"That’s why I think we are in this game," Mahomes said, "and why we have a chance for another Super Bowl championship."
It is a championship team rooted in Reid’s discipline and imaginative strategic moves, but also a team that isn’t afraid to have fun and enjoy the journey. And that’s a credit to the self-effacing Reid, a real-life Santa Claus-type personality who looks the part and even dresses up as the big guy in the locker room around Christmas.
There is an everyman countenance to the fatherly – and grandfatherly – coach, especially when you ask about his favorite indulgences. Starting with his favorite food: a good ol’ cheeseburger. It’s how he celebrated after last year’s championship run. Is there going to be another if he wins on Sunday?
"There is," he said. "Yes, I’m going to eat a double cheeseburger if that happens."
Great coach. Great guy.
And now on the threshold of greatness only a select few have earned.
Most NFL regular-season coaching wins:
1. Don Shula 328
2. George Halas 318
3. Bill Belichick 280
4. Tom Landry 250
5. Curly Lambeau 226
6. Andy Reid 221
Most NFL postseason coaching wins:
1. Belichick 31
2. Landry 20
3. Shula 19
4. (tie) Reid 17
Joe Gibbs 17