Football is an obvious one to the outside world — the Kansas City Chiefs head coach is making a bid for his third Super Bowl championship on Sunday (4:30 p.m. MST, CBS) when the Chiefs take on the San Francisco 49ers at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
“If I’m not doing football or family, then I’m not doing anything. I’m not a golfer. I don’t go fishing or all that stuff. It’s either family or football or church.” — Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid
Family and faith also hold a special place — even more so — for the 25-year veteran NFL coach.
When Reid, who’s expected to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer after he retires, was asked about how he balances football and family, the 11th-year Chiefs coach took the opportunity to explain his commitment to his family and faith, along with football.
“I’d add faith in there, too, because that helps along that trail,” Reid said during a Super Bowl media session Tuesday.
“I think it’s important that you spend time with your family. I’ve got 12 grandkids and one on the way. It’s important that we divide our time up. I’m blessed to have a great wife who likes to travel and see all the grandkids. She has a little bit more freedom to do that.”
Reid, who is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, explained that faith, family and football guide his life.
“If I’m not doing football or family, then I’m not doing anything. I’m not a golfer. I don’t go fishing or all that stuff. It’s either family or football or church,” he said.
There are other Latter-day Saint members in the Chiefs building besides Reid, including practice squad tight end Matt Bushman, assistant running backs coach Porter Ellett and defensive quality control coach Alex Whittingham.
Ellett and Whittingham hail from Utah, while Bushman grew up in Arizona.
Having a coach who is so proactive in sharing his commitment to faith and family is empowering for those on his staff who are like-minded.
“It makes everything easier to work for a guy that shares a lot of the same values, a lot of the same mentality with things,” Whittingham, a Brighton High graduate and son of University of Utah coach Kyle Whittingham, told the Deseret News.
“It’s made it easier for me moving from Salt Lake City to here for the first time and being kind of out of my element. It’s made that adjustment a lot better having a guy that is almost like an uncle or another father figure that I can lean on out here and be close with.”
Ellett echoed those sentiments, adding that having someone like Reid who’s so committed to his family and faith sets a good example for him and his young family.
“He very much does put his faith above other stuff. When people ask him about his hobbies, that’s exactly it. He doesn’t golf, he doesn’t play video games. He doesn’t have these like side hobbies,” Ellett said.
“It’s like football, family and then he goes to church and does things for the church. That’s a good example as well. I think especially, I have a young family myself, so to be able to focus on your family when you’re away from football is important and then all the other hobbies kinda go away.”
Having those faith ties also gives these men the chance to bond — both Whittingham and Ellett shared that the group has faith-based meetings together, a blessing considering most NFL games are played on Sundays.
“We get the opportunity to when we have road games, we get to meet and be able to have a gospel message together on Sundays and talk about spiritual things before we go and do the football stuff,” Whittingham said.
“That has meant a lot to me that he would share that kind of stuff with the people that are interested in it and the people of our faith that join in on that.”
Last year, on the Sunday before the Chiefs played in the Super Bowl against the Philadelphia Eagles later that day, Reid attended a baby blessing for Ellett’s third child.
“That is really special because we do have those conversations and then we have church together all the time,” Ellett said. “So like when our family had the baby blessing, that’s every Sunday — we have these little sacrament meetings.”