PHOENIX — Andy Reid will be 65 next month and probably should be thinking about winding down his coaching career soon. Most in his position start dreaming about the good life — fishing, golf, traveling, retirement.
Unfortunately for the rest of the NFL, no one around Reid sees him slowing down.
“I really don’t,” Chiefs owner Clark Hunt said. “I think Patrick [Mahomes] has put a little bit of a jump in his step. I’ve never seen him as excited about coaching as he is this year.”
And why wouldn’t Reid be excited? To paraphrase former Red Sox pitcher David Price, Reid holds all the cards now.
He used to be known as the coach who couldn’t manage the clock and couldn’t win the big game, after losing three straight NFC Championship games and then a Super Bowl with the Eagles.
But Reid has changed his narrative in 10 years in Kansas City. He is racking up the wins and playoff appearances, and he has the Chiefs on the verge of dynasty status if they can defeat the Eagles on Sunday in the Super Bowl.
Since Mahomes became starting quarterback five years ago, Reid and the Chiefs have dominated the NFL to the tune of a 64-18 record (.780), 10 postseason wins, five AFC Championship games, three Super Bowls, and at least one title.
It has put Reid in a position to pass many of the all-time greats, particularly with Mahomes just 27. After 24 seasons as a head coach — 14 with the Eagles and 10 with the Chiefs — Reid is fifth in coaching wins (268, including postseason), just two behind Tom Landry. Reid’s 21 postseason wins are second-most in NFL history, and his four Super Bowl appearances are tied for fourth-most.
“If you ask Andy about it, he’ll say, ‘I don’t pay attention to that stuff,’ ” Hunt said. “But certainly those of us around the organization are aware of it, and we enjoy seeing him move up almost every year it seems, and he’s very deserving of it.”
Soon enough, Reid could even be nipping at Bill Belichick’s heels. Belichick, six years older than Reid, is just 51 regular-season wins (and 10 postseason wins) ahead of Reid. Belichick had 263 wins through his age-64 season, compared with 268 (and possibly 269) for Reid.
Belichick has a decided advantage in Super Bowls — six rings to one, and nine appearances to four —but who knows how many Reid and Mahomes will rack up over the next decade?
“I told Andy this morning, with the success that he’s had in the past, he’s going to go down as one of the top NFL coaches of all time,” said Jimmy Johnson, the Fox analyst and two-time Super Bowl champion. “And his success hasn’t just been a couple of Super Bowls. He’s been a consistent winner wherever he’s been.”
Belichick has held the mantle of greatest coach in modern NFL history for practically a decade, but Reid is entering the conversation. While Belichick’s success came primarily with one team and one quarterback, Reid has taken two franchises to the Super Bowl, two franchises to at least four straight conference championship games (Eagles 2001-04, Chiefs 2018-22), and has been successful with three quarterbacks (Donovan McNabb, Alex Smith, and Mahomes). Now Reid is on the verge of a mini-dynasty with the Chiefs if they can win their second Super Bowl on Sunday.
“I have tremendous respect for Bill, I really do, and Andy is right there,” said Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, who employed Reid as his head coach from 1999-2012. “Andy is just an offensive mastermind and a great leader and somebody that the players love playing for. This is going to be a first ballot Hall of Fame coach in my opinion, and he’s an even better person. It’s horrible to go against Andy [in the Super Bowl].”
Reid was a good coach in Philadelphia (.583 win percentage) who has become a great one in Kansas City (.722 win percentage). Reid has 117 wins with the Chiefs in 10 seasons — more than George Allen, Don Coryell, John Madden, Tom Flores, Vince Lombardi, and Bill Walsh had for their careers.
Eleven-year Hall of Fame voter Vic Carucci called Reid a “slam dunk” candidate and said Reid’s second act with the Chiefs has put him on the same level with Belichick.
“If you’re looking at the pillars of great coaching, at the highest levels of the game, they are the two,” Carucci said. “I don’t just see Belichick and everybody else. I see Belichick and Andy and everybody else.”
Reid has an impressive résumé that goes beyond the wins, though. His 1999 Eagles staff included seven future head coaches (John Harbaugh, Ron Rivera, Leslie Frazier, Steve Spagnuolo, Brad Childress, Pat Shurmur, and David Culley), and Reid also helped develop Sean McDermott, Doug Pederson, and Matt Nagy.
“For me to leave for a few years, become a head coach, and then come back, it’s pretty cool to see how he is still teaching me,” said Nagy, now a Chiefs assistant after four years as head coach of the Bears. “He’s one of the most important people in my life. I’m so happy for him because no one does it as good as him — the right way, the way you treat people, the relationships. He is, in my opinion, the best to ever do it.”
Reid also instantly fixed a broken culture in Kansas City. He arrived in 2013 following a 2-14 season and the murder-suicide of Jovan Belcher. The Chiefs started the next season 9-0 with basically the same roster, and have gone to the playoffs in nine of 10 years under Reid’s steady leadership.
“The very first day in KC when he sat up in front of the team, these vets were staring at him like he’s this beautiful alien that came out of nowhere that’s just going to take us to the promised land,” Nagy said. “And he did it. For him to do what he’s done from the very first day until now, it’s unbelievable.”
Reid also has a remarkably boring temperament — he rarely shows emotion, rarely raises his voice, and hasn’t strayed from the coaching principles he learned three decades ago.
“I don’t think I’ve changed that much,” he said. “I’ve lost a little more hair — and not weight — but it’s about the same. Same picture that I did for the first Super Bowl.”
It has served him well over 40 years as a coach. If Reid has his way, he has a lot more years, wins, and championships still in him.
“Anybody speculating about his time ending any time soon I think is on the wrong track,” said former Eagles president Joe Banner. “When we put Jimmy Johnson with Troy Aikman, they dominated the NFL. Joe Montana and Steve Young with Bill Walsh, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. I think at the end of the decade, we’re going to be saying the same things about Andy and Mahomes.”
Ben Volin can be reached at email@example.com.