Thursday, February 29, 2024

Andy Reid stayed the course in Chiefs’ Super Bowl win, now numbers among all-time greats

LAS VEGAS — Andy Reid ran toward Chris Jones, the defensive cornerstone of his three Super Bowl-winning teams.

Jones was sprawled out on the field, physically exhausted and reveling in this new sense of dynasty after the Kansas City Chiefs’ 25-22 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII. Reid joined Jones on the grass, getting on his hands and vigorously shaking his player’s shoulder pads.

“What do you think, huh?” Reid shouted at Jones as confetti fell around them. Reid brought his face closer to Jones, then repeated for effect. “What do you think?!”

The childlike joy was a rare display of emotion for the veteran Chiefs head coach. Reid’s bushy eyebrows and mustache and small round glasses give him a distinct look and also have the effect of obscuring his true feelings.

“He never shows any emotion,” cornerback L’Jarius Sneed said after the game. “He’s like a snake, ah!” I’ll pick you up. That’s what I like about him, like a little rattlesnake.

Rattlesnake Reid sank his fangs into the Niners on Sunday in Las Vegas, as wide receiver Mecole Hardman scored the game-winning touchdown in overtime. This was the start of new overtime playoff rules inspired by the Chiefs’ 2021 overtime playoff victory against the Bills. Kansas City didn’t win the toss this time, but the Chiefs still couldn’t be stopped.

The 25-22 victory is Reid’s third time in the Super Bowl on his fifth try. He is now the fifth head coach to win at least three, joining Bill Belichick (six), Chuck Noll (four), Bill Walsh and Joe Gibbs (three), and the seventh coach to win it all consecutively. years back.

“It’s a little surreal,” Reid said in his post-match press conference. “Back-to-back is a rare air for this football team and this organization. I don’t know what a dynasty is. You have the thesaurus, you can understand it. It’s a great victory because I know how difficult it is to do. I know how difficult the season was, the ups and downs of the season.


The stuff of dynasties: this Chiefs championship built on defense and perseverance

Reid’s Chiefs were a little more definitive in their summary of the season – and their coach.

“Dynasty, I think we qualified for it,” catcher Marquez Valdes-Scantling said in the postgame locker room. “If he’s not the best, he’s one of the best to ever do this.”

“Check the stats, check the numbers,” Sneed said. “He’s legendary.”

“He’s one of the greatest guys in football, and that makes him one of the greatest coaches,” Chiefs assistant running backs coach Porter Ellett said. “Now it’s getting harder and harder to argue against him being in the top two or three.”

“He was already a Hall of Fame coach before tonight,” Chiefs owner Clark Hunt said. “But adding this third Super Bowl trophy in five years, I think it really solidifies his status as one of the greatest of all time.”

“I wouldn’t want to play for another coach,” center Creed Humphrey said. “He’s the best coach in the game right now.”

Reid’s three Super Bowl titles put him in rare company, and he’s not done yet. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

At halftime, with Kansas City leading 10-3, Reid didn’t panic. The offensive was at a standstill. Mahomes was constantly under pressure, sacked twice, and running back Isaiah Pacheco eluded the Chiefs’ most promising offense. But Reid’s message to players and staff was the same: keep going.

“When you go to the Super Bowl and you’re down by seven points, you feel like you’re down 20,” Reid said. “And so you kind of calm down – we’re here, we get the ball back to start the second half and everyone stays together – and good things can happen.”

“When you’re down 10 in a big game like this, a lot of coaches can’t handle it well and start throwing things at the wall and hoping it sticks,” Humphrey said. “But he stuck to the game plan. And he had a great game plan for us. He did an excellent job, a masterful coaching job.

“As good as he is as a coach, he never changes,” offensive coordinator Matt Nagy said. “He stays the course. He is a leader of men and he is a great teacher. And he doesn’t just teach his players, he teaches his coaches how to be good leaders. And then you stay together and you make things happen.

The two players who scored touchdowns for Kansas City on Sunday provide direct evidence of that cohesive quality that coaches say makes Reid special. Valdes-Scantling, who scored the first touchdown Sunday, has struggled with costly drops throughout the season. Hardman returned to the Chiefs in a trade after being cut by the Jets midseason and struggled in the playoffs, including running out of the end zone in Buffalo, before scoring the winning goal.

“Coach Reid is one of those guys that stays the course no matter what,” Valdes-Scantling said. “We’re all here for a reason and we all make plays, and we all have the special skills that we have, and him being able to continue that and stay the course with us has been good.”

Ellett is in his seventh season on the Kansas City staff. He injured his right arm in an accident when he was 4 years old and later had it amputated. He never played football and ended up connecting with Reid when a position as Reid’s assistant opened up. Reid has since taught him how to coach.

“He never gives up on a guy,” Ellett said. “He trusts people a lot. And if you reward faith, then he continues to trust you. I mean, I’m a good example of that. People don’t hire one-armed football coaches who haven’t played football.”

Because he is 65 years old, speculation about Reid’s future is growing. How much longer will he continue? How many more rings will this budding dynasty acquire? Asked after Sunday’s victory if he would be back as Kansas City’s coach next season, Reid was nonchalant: “Yeah, I haven’t had time to think about it, but Yes of course.”

Chiefs players aren’t listening to any of that noise.

“He’s got a lot left in the tank,” Humphrey said.

“We won two Super Bowls in a row,” Valdez-Scantling said. “We’re trying to choose another one.”

Moreover, the boss is convinced that Reid will stay a little longer.

“I know Andy is full of energy and loves what he does,” Hunt said. “I certainly expect him to come back next year to defend our title.”

(Photo: Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images)

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