He’s the everyman type of guy you’d love to have a beer with . . . or a cheeseburger . . . or a steak . . . or all of it.
Andy Reid’s warm-and-fuzzy personality is as much a part of his persona as his astonishing grasp of strategic football concepts, a coach whose love for his players and his family is as big as he is.
He’s a man who has made so many friends and built so many lasting relationships along the way that it’s virtually impossible to find someone who has a bad word to say about him.
Believe me, we’ve tried. There’s no one. At least no one who has come out of the woodwork expressing anything other than respect and adulation for the guy.
The self-deprecating sense of humor is legendary, and the quips have been coming regularly now that he’s on the Super Bowl LIV stage. They started shortly after his Chiefs got to the Super Bowl with an AFC Championship Game win over the Titans at Arrowhead Stadium.
“Fired up to go to Miami,” Reid said from behind a lectern in his postgame news conference. “I need to go on a diet so I can fit in my clothes. Then we can go do our thing.”
And as the Chiefs prepare to play the 49ers at Hard Rock Stadium in Kansas City’s first Super Bowl in 50 years, the quips are still coming.
“I like dress codes, as long as it’s Tommy Bahama,” Reid cracked the other day, expressing his preference to wear shirts that are roomy and never tucked in. “No speedos!”
And when talking about his nine grandchildren, Reid said: “They keep you young, and at the same time, make you feel old. It’s kind of like sweet and sour pork.”
If ever there was a sentimental favorite in this game, it’s Reid.
The 61-year-old coach has been at this for a lifetime, producing an exemplary career that includes 207 regular-season wins, the seventh-most in NFL history. But there is one gigantic chasm in his list of accomplishments, the one that drives him to keep pursuing greatness, the one he finally can fill Sunday.
Reid is the only one of those top seven coaches never to win a championship, and this is his best chance yet. With Patrick Mahomes, a quarterback he has developed in lightning speed, and with a defense that has advanced to championship level after years of underachieving, Reid has every reason to believe he finally can win a Super Bowl ring and add the only thing missing from his legacy.
“We want to go out there, we wanna play our best football,” said Mahomes, last year’s MVP and arguably the NFL’s best quarterback these days. “We know we’re playing a great opponent, but we’re gonna try to win the game and get one for Coach Reid, get one for Kansas City.”
Reid’s players adore him. He’s a coach who gives them the freedom to be themselves — as players and as people — and a coach who invariably brings out the best in them. That hasn’t yet resulted in a championship, but maybe that will change Sunday.
It would go a long way toward erasing some of the heartbreak of past close losses. That includes his time in Philadelphia, when he got to a Super Bowl but lost to the Patriots.
It didn’t end well with the Eagles, and after going 4-12 in 2012, Reid was banished after 14 seasons. That’s an eternity in Philadelphia, where the criticism can be unrelenting.
But Reid accepts what happened, and the fact that he found work almost immediately with the Chiefs, who have been a playoff contender ever since, has reinforced his belief in himself and his football principles.
“I loved my time in Philadelphia,” Reid said. “It’s almost a badge of honor when you get booed there. If you can withstand the pressure of Philadelphia, you become a Philadelphian.”
The Eagles won their only Super Bowl without him, as Reid’s former offensive coordinator with the Chiefs, Doug Pederson, conquered the Patriots in Super Bowl LII.
“My guys — the football players and coaches — my heart went out to them for the great job they did [in the Super Bowl] and the support they gave me throughout my 14 years,” Reid said.
There was personal anguish in his time in Philadelphia, and the death of his son, Garrett, from a heroin overdose in 2012 left a permanent scar on the family. Reid’s sorrow was profound, even if he never showed it publicly. There will always be a piece of him missing. But the coach soldiered on through his anguish, and the people closest to him — including the Eagles’ players and coaches — rallied around him with incredible support that he deeply appreciated.
But now is a time of celebration for Reid — celebrating his team, celebrating his adopted city of Kansas City and celebrating the chance to give his players what they want most. As much as Reid’s players want to win it for him, he wants to win it for them.
It was fitting, then, that he offered these words when asked after Friday’s final full-scale practice if he’s ready to go.
“I don’t want to play,” Reid joked, “but yeah, I’m ready to coach.”
One more game. One more win. One legacy to be fulfilled.