Andy Reid stayed the course in Chiefs' Super Bowl win, now numbers among all-time greats
LAS VEGAS — Andy Reid ran up to Chris Jones, the defensive cornerstone of his three Super Bowl-winning teams.
Jones was sprawled out on the field, physically spent and reveling in that new dynasty feeling after the Kansas City Chiefs’ 25-22 win 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 to Jones as the confetti fell around them. Reid lowered his face closer to Jones, then repeated for effect. “What do you think?!”
This childlike glee was a rare showing of emotion for the Chiefs’ veteran 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.
ALL THE FEELS ❤️ pic.twitter.com/yd1ByK7VPw
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) February 12, 2024
“He never shows no emotion,” cornerback L’Jarius Sneed said after the game. “He’s like a snake, ah! Coming to get you. That’s what I love about him, like a little rattlesnake.”
Rattlesnake Reid sank his fangs into the Niners on Sunday in Las Vegas, as receiver Mecole Hardman scored the game-winning touchdown in overtime. It was the debut of new overtime playoff rules inspired by the Chiefs’ 2021 overtime playoff win over the Bills. Kansas City didn’t win the toss this time, but the Chiefs still couldn’t be stopped.
The 25-22 win is Reid’s third Super Bowl in his fifth try. He’s now the fifth head coach to win at least three, in the company of Bill Belichick (six), Chuck Noll (four), Bill Walsh and Joe Gibbs (three), and the seventh coach to win it all in back-to-back years.
“It’s a little bit surreal,” Reid said in his postgame press conference. “Back-to-back is rare air for this football team and this organization. I don’t know what a dynasty is. You guys have the thesaurus, you can figure it out. It’s a great win because I know how hard it is to do. I know how hard the season was, the ups and downs of the season.”
Reid’s Chiefs were a little more definitive in their summation of the season — and of their coach.
“Dynasty, I think we did all the qualifications for it,” receiver 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 this just makes him one of the greatest coaches,” said Chiefs assistant running backs coach Porter Ellett. “Now it’s becoming harder to argue against him being in the top two or three ever.”
“He was already a Hall of Fame coach before tonight,” said Chiefs owner Clark Hunt. “But adding that third Super Bowl trophy in five years, I think really solidifies his status as one of the best 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.”
At halftime, with Kansas City down 10-3, Reid didn’t panic. The offense was stalling. Mahomes was constantly under pressure, sacked twice, and running back Isaiah Pacheco fumbled away the Chiefs’ most promising drive. But Reid’s message to players and staff was the same: Keep going.
“When you’re in the Super Bowl and you’re down by seven points, it feels like 20,” Reid said. “And so, you kind of just calm it down — we’re right there, we’re getting the ball to start the second half and everybody just hang with each other — and good things can happen.”
“When you’re down ten in a big game like this, a lot of coaches can not handle it well and start throwing stuff 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 a great job, a masterful coaching job.”
“As good as he is as a coach, he never changes,” said offensive coordinator Matt Nagy. “He stays the course. He’s a leader of men and he’s a hell of a teacher. And he doesn’t just teach his players, he teaches his coaches how to be good leaders. And then you stick together and you go make things happen.”
The two players who scored touchdowns for Kansas City on Sunday present direct evidence of that stick-together quality that coaches say makes Reid special. Valdes-Scantling, who scored the first touchdown on Sunday, struggled with costly drops throughout the season. Hardman returned to the Chiefs in a trade after being cast off by the Jets midseason and struggled this postseason, notably fumbling out of the endzone in Buffalo, before scoring the game-winner.
“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 skill set 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 Kansas City’s 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 wound up getting connected to Reid through a mutual friend when a job as Reid’s assistant opened up.
“He never gives up on a guy,” Ellett said. “He puts a lot of faith in people. And if you reward the faith, then he keeps trusting you … Those are two guys that any other team probably says, hey, you know, they’re having a bad year. No, he gives them the ball, calls the ball for them.”
Reid has since taught him how to be a coach.
“He never gives up on a guy. He puts a lot of faith in people. And if you reward the faith, then he keeps trusting you,” Ellett said “I mean, I’m a good example of that. People aren’t hiring one-armed football coaches who didn’t play football.”
At 65 years old, there’s been growing speculation about Reid’s future. How much longer will he coach? How many more rings will this budding dynasty acquire? When asked after Sunday’s win if he would be back coaching Kansas City next season, Reid was nonchalant: “Yeah, I haven’t had time to think about it, but yeah, sure.”
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 back to back,” Valdez-Scantling said. “We’re trying to go for another one.”
Plus, the boss is confident Reid is sticking around for a while longer.
“I know Andy is energized and loving what he’s doing,” Hunt said. “I certainly expect him to be back next year to defend our title.”
(Photo: Timothy A. Clary/ AFP via Getty Images)