Andy Reid remains at the top of NFL coaches, and he's not stopping now
Everyone seems to be in such a rush to ask Andy Reid when he is going to retire that they tend to lose sight of a much better question.
Why would he?
He has the best quarterback in the league, the undying admiration of his locker room and two Super Bowl titles that had eluded him for the majority of his career and the franchise for which he works for the better part of a half-century.
He also has the wits and wherewithal to keep confounding his much younger and supposedly flashier opponents with the fun offensive play-calling prowess he demonstrated on Sunday night against the Eagles.
If Reid were 30 years younger, 50 pounds lighter and spent any amount of time around Sean McVay, he’d be considered the next hot whippersnapper in the coaching world. Instead, at age 64, he’ll have to settle for being the NFL’s best coach, period, while rising up the ranks of the all-time list.
While Bill Belichick’s long resume puts him ahead of Reid in terms of overall success, these last few years have not been very kind to the curmudgeon from New England. Belichick hasn’t been able to do much without his all-world quarterback. Now it’s Reid’s turn to win with his.
Reid likely will never catch Belichick in wins or titles, but he certainly seems to be enjoying himself a heck of a lot more than Belichick these days (or any days, really).
And yes, to answer that first question, he intends to keep going.
There was some doubt heading into this game, generated by Reid himself, not because he was seriously considering stepping down but because he was so sick of being asked about it.
“I got asked that 50 times here and finally I just go, ‘Whatever, man. Whatever,’ ” Reid said of the smoke that led to the fire of speculation amid pregame news reports. “But I’m good with what I’m doing right now.”
After watching Reid cheer on Patrick Mahomes for years and through Sunday’s Super Bowl, there finally was a reason for Mahomes to cheer on Reid.
When the coach gave his most definitive answer about his future — “If they’ll have me, I’ll stick around,” he said of his intentions for the 2023 season — his quarterback was standing a few feet away while awaiting his turn on the podium reserved for the MVP and winning head coach of the Super Bowl. Mahomes couldn’t help but clap and hoot his approval.
“He has every right to retire,” Mahomes said. “He’s done so many things for so long. But I can tell by the way he enjoys this that that is not anything in the near future. Whenever that time is right for him, we’ll embrace it, but I’m glad he is sticking around because the job is not finished.”
There is no doubt NFL coaching is a young man’s game. The rigors of the job require a dedication that few can — or would want to — devote as they reach certain stages of their life. Reid, though, doesn’t seem bothered by any of that. If anything, he is invigorated by it.
“I look in the mirror and I’m old,” he said. “My heart, though, is young. I still enjoy doing what I’m doing.”
His players enjoy him, too. Where there should be a wide age chasm that inhibits communication and closeness, there is only mutual understanding and respect.
“Coach Reid is legendary,” defensive tackle Chris Jones said. “Not many coaches that are player coaches in this league. I’m just very fortunate, honestly. He’s a heck of a guy and a better person. He makes us all look good.”
Added tight end Travis Kelce: “Ever since he’s been here in Kansas City, I’ve seen it firsthand, he’s poured his heart, his mind and his soul into this organization and to this team and led a group of men. You can call it what you want, that didn’t happen in Philly. That happened right in here in Kansas City. There’s a lot of pride in knowing he’s had success in two different organizations, but this is the better one.”
Perhaps there is a bit of vindication for Reid that he won this Super Bowl against his former team. Hardly a day went by during his 13-year tenure with the Eagles that he was not criticized for his game and clock management. To have maneuvered through the final two minutes of Sunday’s game to near perfection must have been satisfying. Reid, though, did not let on to any of that.
“I love Philadelphia,” he said. “I loved my time in Philadelphia. Phenomenal people, and we had some great years. I left the organization on a positive note . . . It’s a great city. As is Kansas City. I’ve been very fortunate, man. Very, very fortunate.”
It’s actually the other way around. They have been fortunate to have him. And one of them will get to keep enjoying that.
“He’s one of the greatest coaches of all time,” Mahomes said. “I think everybody knew that. But these last two Super Bowls kind of cemented that. To have someone that is such a great person who gets the best out of the players and to become men and players, you wanted to do that, you wanted to win those Super Bowls for him. It’s great that we did that and like he said, we’re not done, I am going to have him around for a little while longer at least.”