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The challenges ahead as Andy Reid seeks a second Super Bowl title

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid walks the field before an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla.
Lynne Sladky, Associated Press

Andy Reid and the Chiefs have the chance to join exclusive company Sunday when Kansas City takes on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.

The 22-year NFL head coach is going for a second straight Super Bowl title with the Chiefs. If Kansas City is triumphant, it will be the first time since the early 2000s that a franchise has won back-to-back titles — the New England Patriots were the last to do so, in 2004 and 2005.

It’s Andy Reid’s third Super Bowl, including an appearance with the Eagles, and his track record certainly speaks for itself. As an NFL head coach with the Philadelphia Eagles (from 1999 to 2012) and Kansas City (2013 to now), he’s won more than 220 games and has a career winning percentage of 62.9% during the regular season. He’s led his team to the postseason 16 times.

“I think everybody realizes and understands the caliber of coach that coach Reid is,” Chiefs safety Daniel Sorensen said. “I don’t think anybody doubts the effort, the work and the success that he’s had as a football coach. But a lot of times your legacy can be defined by how many Super Bowls you’re able to win, or different things like that.”

“It’s a testament to who he is as a coach and the process that he preaches and that he instills in his players,” Sorensen said of the Chiefs returning to the Super Bowl.

Kansas City flew in to Tampa on Saturday. Both the team and Reid are facing the news that broke Friday that Reid’s son, Britt Reid, who is also Kansas City’s outside linebackers coach, was involved in a multi-vehicle accident on Thursday that injured two children. A 5-year-old injured in the crash remained in critical condition on Saturday, Yahoo! Sports reported. TV station KSHB reported Reid told an officer on the scene he had “two or three drinks.”

Britt Reid won’t coach in the Super Bowl, per ESPN’s Dianna Rusinni. The team had no further comment Saturday after a Friday statement saying it was gathering information, according to the Associated Press. Andy Reid had previously taken a leave of absence from the Eagles in 2007 after Britt and another son, Garrett, were arrested.

Since Reid’s arrival in 2013, Kansas City has won more than 70% of its regular-season games and reached the postseason every year but one. The Chiefs are 7-5 in the playoffs under Reid, including their win in Super Bowl LIV.

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the Super Bowl MVP last year when the Chiefs won their first Super Bowl in 50 years, said the team isn’t satisfied with just resting on that one Super Bowl win.

“The thing I’m most proud of is that no one has become satisfied. No one has become happy with winning one Super Bowl championship,” he said. “Everybody’s trying to make themselves better every single day and not trying to take a day for granted. You don’t have that in every single organization, in every single locker room.

“I think that just comes with the culture that (Chiefs general manager) Brett Veach and Coach Reid have instilled in us, and that’s to get better at least 1% every single day. That’s why I think we are in this game and why we have a chance for another Super Bowl championship.”

Pro Bowl safety Tyrann Mathieu explained how Reid’s work ethic rubs off on the team, and inspires them to get better.

“He has a way of maximizing the time. Whether it’s in practice, whether it’s in meetings, just the structure he’s built, the culture he’s built, we’re always working on something. We’re always trying to find a way to get better,” Mathieu said. “We’re always trying to create an edge for ourselves. Coach Reid is spearheading this thing, he is the leader of it all, and to see him show up each and every day with work on his mind, as a player, you want to follow suit. You want to listen to that guy. You want to play for that guy.”

Tampa Bay running back LeSean McCoy, though he’ll be on the opposite sideline Sunday, knows Reid well and sees how Reid interacts with his players helps get the best out of them. McCoy won his first Super Bowl ring as a member of the Chiefs last year, and he played for Reid in Philadelphia.

“His personality, he’s always been cool, which the media doesn’t see. He’s always getting involved with the young guys, he’s dancing, he’s joking, he’s wearing Air Force 1s,” McCoy said. “… I’m so happy for Coach Reid. He’s one of my favorites.

“Now hopefully they don’t win this coming Sunday, but all the wishes to him and his family. I love his wife and his kids. There’s a special place for him in my heart, for sure.”

After the Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers 31-20 in Super Bowl LIV last February, Reid said, “I told (my team) that I would coach another 20 years if I could have that group right there. They’re a beautiful bunch, resilient, tough-minded, as you saw tonight.”

Among those players he’s built a strong rapport with is Sorensen, a seven-year pro who was an undrafted safety out of BYU that latched on with the Kansas City organization.

FILE: Kansas City Chiefs safety Daniel Sorensen (49), Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87), Kansas City Chiefs fullback Anthony Sherman (42) and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) lead the players onto the field before the Chiefs take on the Miami Dolphins during an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla. Earlier this week as the Chiefs prepared for their Super Bowl LV matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sorensen recalled how Kansas City coach Andy Reid was the only head coach to call him when Sorensen entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2014.
Doug Murray, Associated Press

“In 2014, I got a call from Andy, the only head coach that reached out to me in the free-agent process. That was pretty big,” Sorensen said. “It was pretty remarkable to get a phone call from him, and he kind of shot me straight and said I’d have a good opportunity of making the team if I came to Kansas City, and I believed him.”

Sorensen, who built his way into a more prominent role with Kansas City through special teams work, is now a consistent contributor for the Chiefs. He’s enjoying his best season as a pro, with 89 tackles, five pass deflections, three interceptions and two forced fumbles this season.

Sorensen and Reid also share a close connection beyond being BYU alums — Reid was an offensive lineman at the Provo school in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Both are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“There’s a lot of ties to BYU, but the church, it’s such a big part of my life to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” Sorensen said. “It defines who I am as a person, our family, and the choices that I make. I know it’s the same for coach Reid. To be able to share that much with the head coach, it means a lot.

“We’ve had the opportunity over the last couple of years to be able to share some intimate moments with our beliefs. It means a lot, and I’m just grateful I’ve been able to be around him and see the kind of man that he is, even outside of football, which is pretty special and not too many people get to experience and to have a relationship with coach outside of the Xs and Os.”

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid celebrates after the AFC championship NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021, in Kansas City, Mo. The Chiefs won 38-24. Reid has led the Chiefs to the Super Bowl for the second straight season, as Kansas City will face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV.
Charlie Riedel, Associated Press

Reid has often emphasized that as part of his job as a coach, he needs to be a good teacher, a strong communicator. And showing respect for others, like his players, is vital to getting the best out of them, not just on the field, but in life.

“I treat people the way I want to be treated whether it’s what I learned through church or family,” he said earlier this week. “I’m a teacher. ... I want to help them become better men, husbands.”

Those thoughts echo what Reid said nearly four years ago during BYU’s media day in 2017, when the coach traveled to Provo to remember the late LaVell Edwards, Reid’s Hall of Fame coach during his time as a Cougar.

“It’s the intangible things that we learned, that you can be a good person and still coach. You don’t have to yell, scream and use profanity. You’re a teacher,” Reid said back then. “If you take the principles of the church, we’re here to be teachers. You can truly incorporate that into coaching and still have success doing it.”

Come Sunday, those principles of leadership will be on display on the big stage again, as Reid and the Chiefs go for a second straight title.

“We’ll have another opportunity to get him another ring, which will be exciting,” Sorensen said.