Chiefs Hire Andy Reid

January 5th, 2013 by Lee Eldridge

Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach Andy ReidAs you might expect, I have quite a few thoughts on the Kansas City Chiefs this week. And I’m pleased that owner Clark Hunt made quick and decisive plans for the future of the organization. Today we’ll focus on his hiring of Andy Reid as the Chiefs’ head coach.

Andy Reid is One of the Most Successful NFL Coaches to Never Win a Super Bowl
Reid spent 14 years as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. During that time, he amassed a regular season record of 130-93. His teams were amazingly consistent, finishing first or second in the NFC East 10 of those 14 years. If you take away his first season (5-11) and his last season (4-12), the numbers are even more impressive.

If I were to list the top three NFL head coaches to never win a Super Bowl, it would be Marv Levy (4-1 in AFC Championship Games, and 0-4 in Super Bowls), Andy Reid (1-4 in NFC Championship Games, and 0-1 in Super Bowls), and Marty Schottenheimer (0-3 AFC Championship Games and an NFL regular season record of 200-126 across four NFL teams). Most interesting to me is that all three of these men have now been head coaches for the Chiefs. Quite a dubious distinction.

What Went Wrong in Philadelphia?
There are plenty of people who follow the Eagles much more closely than I do. I think there are two pretty obvious reasons for what went wrong.

1. You’ve got to have a franchise quarterback to win in the NFL. We know this better in Kansas City than most cities. With Donovan McNabb at the helm from 1999-2009, the Eagles went 108-67 (that’s the team’s record, which includes games started by other quarterbacks). Since then, the Eagles have gone 22-26.

2. Sometimes you’re the product of your own success. Six of Reid’s assistant coaches become head coaches — Brad Childress, John Harbaugh, Steve Spagnola, Leslie Frazier, Ron Rivera and Pat Shumur. Add to that long time defensive coordinator Jim Johnson (1999-2008) who left the Eagles for health reasons. That’s a lot of talent to replace.

Is Reid the Right Choice for the Chiefs?
I’m torn on this one. He’s a MUCH better choice than Romeo Crennel. He’s a very good coach. He’s low risk. He’s young enough at 54 to be a long-term solution. He’s a good evaluator of talent. He will likely make the Chiefs competitive almost immediately. But I’m not sure this is a great hire. And I’m ready for greatness in Kansas City.

He’s got two big decisions to make that will likely shape whether this is a good hire, or a great hire.

1. Quarterback: The Chiefs must draft and develop a quarterback. Every year there are two to three quarterbacks drafted that become very good quarterbacks, if not elite quarterbacks. In 1999, Reid’s first year in Philadelphia, there were five quarterbacks taken in the first round of the draft. Reid selected Donovan McNabb with the second pick in the draft. Tim Couch had gone number one overall to the Browns. Akili Smith was chosen third by the Bengals. The Vikings picked Daunte Culpepper with the 11th pick. And Cade McNown was taken 12th by the Bears. Culpepper had some good years, but McNabb was clearly the best of the bunch. This should give us hope that Reid can identify the next quarterback for the Chiefs.

2. I completely trust Reid to assemble an offensive staff. The key acquisition will be at defensive coordinator, where he clearly failed to adequately replace Jim Johnson with the Eagles. The Chiefs have plenty of talent on defense, and should be an attractive fit for the right defensive coordinator.

Parting Shot
Sam Mellinger at the Kansas City Star made an interesting point in his column:

If Reid helps drive the Chiefs to the Super Bowl, it would fit the pattern of many football men who found bigger success in their second job. Tom Coughlin spent eight years in Jacksonville before winning two Super Bowls with the Giants. Tony Dungy was fired in Tampa Bay before winning a title in Indianapolis. Gruden failed with the Raiders before winning big with the Bucs. Bill Belichick flopped in Cleveland before becoming the most successful coach in recent NFL history.

All told, seven of the last 11 Super Bowl winners were coached by a man in his second job.

What is Sam missing in this analysis? Coughlin has Eli Manning with the Giants. Tony Dungy had Peyton Manning with the Colts. And Bill Belichick has Tom Brady in New England. All three are significant upgrades compared to the quarterbacks they had during their first jobs. Only Gruden ended up leaving the better quarterback behind with Rich Gannon, though Brad Johnson had a very good season for the Bucs when they won it all.

Patience can pay off for an organization. The Steelers gave Bill Cowher time, and he rewarded them with a Super Bowl victory in his 14th season in Pittsburgh, with the help from quarterback Ben Roethisberger. I anticipate the Chiefs giving Reid plenty of time in Kansas City, but if we’re hoping for a Super Bowl, it still comes back to finding the right quarterback.

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