By almost any measure, Andy Reid is everything you want in a head coach.
He has experience, coaching a combined 21 seasons with the Eagles and Chiefs.
He has the wins — 207 of them, seventh most in NFL history and second behind Bill Belichick among active coaches.
He has the playoff appearances — 15 in all, tied for fourth most with the legendary Paul Brown.
What he doesn’t have, and what might one day cost him a shot at Hall of Fame recognition: a Super Bowl championship.
Now is the time for the 61-year-old coach to change the narrative.
Now is the time for him to join his fellow coaching greats with a ring.
His reputation depends on it.
There is no better opportunity than the one Reid faces. He has guided the Chiefs to the AFC Championship Game for the second straight year, and with an offense for the ages, there’s no reason he can’t get to the Super Bowl for the second time in his career.
And win it for the first time.
The Chiefs will host the Titans in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium, thanks to a dramatic comeback from a 24-0 deficit in a 51-31 win over the Texans at home. Patrick Mahomes put on a show, throwing five touchdown passes in leading one of pro football’s greatest playoff comebacks.
It was Reid’s biggest comeback, too. Before Sunday, he’d never overcome a deficit of 14 or more points in the playoffs or 21 points in the regular season.
Reid has been on the other end of heartbreaking comebacks, especially in a 45-44 loss to the Colts in a 2013 wild-card game, when his Chiefs blew a 28-point lead.
Reid has experienced other playoff misery, too. With the Eagles, he reached the NFC Championship Game five times, losing four of them. The one time he did get to the Super Bowl, Belichick outwitted him in a 24-21 loss in Super Bowl XXXIX.
Belichick again got the better of Reid in last year’s AFC Championship Game, beating the Chiefs, 37-31, in overtime. Mahomes was spectacular in rallying the Chiefs from a 14-0 deficit, especially in a 24-point fourth quarter. But the Patriots scored a touchdown on their first possession in overtime, sending yet another dagger through Reid’s coaching heart.
Reid is well aware of his biggest shortcoming as a coach but refuses to draw attention to it, instead trying to do what he can to prepare his team for the next game. This next game is a momentous one, especially for Reid, and he needs to take advantage of the opportunity with the best team he’s ever had – up to and including all those terrific Eagles teams.
A win on Sunday, and the Chiefs will be in position to win a Super Bowl for only the second time in franchise history . . . and the first time in Reid's history.
It’s huge, even if Reid prefers to keep the focus not on the enormity of the situation but on keeping his team – and himself – on an even keel.
“You just stay focused,” he said Wednesday. “You eliminate the distractions and pay attention to the job at hand. We try to keep the schedules and times the same, and when [the players] have media obligations, they do it and get on the football side of it.”
One guy who would love to see Reid win it all: Mahomes.
“I would probably be happier for him, for sure,” Mahomes said Thursday. “I’ll be pretty happy, too, for myself. It would be amazing. The work that he has put in every single day, everywhere he’s been he’s had success, so we want to get him that Super Bowl, but we understand it’s a process.”
Reid’s Achilles' heel has been calling games too close to the vest in pressure situations, and there certainly is ample evidence of that shortcoming in many of his playoff losses. Which means there’s only one way he should approach Sunday’s game.
“If I were the Kansas City Chiefs, I would just come out firing,” CBS analyst and former Giants quarterback Phil Simms said. “They have the fastest group of wide receivers in the history of the NFL, so they should just go out and attack.''
Simms is spot on. With a team this good, a quarterback this dynamic and a defense finally flexing a championship swagger, Reid simply must take advantage of his best chance at winning a championship. He must coach as if his legacy depends on it — because it does.