BY Art Thiel 06:00AM 01/31/2020

Thiel: Super bandwagon loads up for KC’s Reid

This time around, the Super Bowl has one commanding figure: Chiefs coach Andy Reid, perhaps the best coach who’s never done the ring thing. It’s his turn Sunday.

So well regarded was Andy Reid that he received a cake and a standing ovation upon his firing in Philadelphia.  / Wiki Commons

I’d like to see the San Francisco 49ers win the Super Bowl.

As a writer in Seattle, it would be great fun to have the NFL champs in the NFC West. Twice next season, Seahawks games would be cataclysms rich in thunderbolts, bombast and hysteria, and a secret plan to keep in town Jim Harbaugh as Niners quality control coach/spy, after he gets fired for Michigan’s loss in Washington’s season opener.

But if I were a fan Sunday, I’d want the Kansas City Chiefs win the Super Bowl, because it would mean so much to coach Andy Reid, even though he’d rather drink bleach than admit such a thing.

Reid is the most compelling figure in the Miami hootenanny, as well as arguably the best coach to never win a Super Bowl. Plus, it’s been 50 years for Chiefs fans, who look at aggrieved Mariners fans and offer a dismissive smirk.

I think Reid will do it.

His arsenal for LIV includes a similar difference-making weapon that Seahawks coach Pete Carroll had in XLVIII — a mobile, accurate quarterback on a rookie contract who was born to lead. That set of virtues isn’t the only way to get a Lombardi Trophy, but the cool thing is it may give him a better chance to do it the following  year, should KC decide to throw Sunday from second-and-goal at at 1. (Don’t tell me it’s too soon; laugh, people, it’s therapeutic).

Over 20 seasons as an NFL head coach, Reid’s regular-season record is 195-124 (.611). He’s 12-14 in the playoffs, including a 24-21 loss in Super Bowl XXXIX to New England at Jacksonville Feb. 6, 2005, his only previous shot in the mega-ultra-alpha game.

But after the 2o12 season ended 4-12, the Eagles fired him after 14 seasons. Four days later, he was hired by Kansas City, where he’s had six consecutive winning seasons and five playoff appearances in a row.

The final season in Philly was excruciating because a month before the season, his oldest son, Garrett, 29, died of a heroin overdose. Despite urgings from many to take time away after the tragedy, Reid insisted that doing the thing he seemed born to do was the best therapy.

Which made it even harder at the end of the season when Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie decided Reid’s Philly tenure had run its course.

But the exit was handled in a way different than any other dismissal I’ve heard about in the NFL, or any other sport. Monday in Miami, Lurie explained the scene to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The owner put his arm around Reid and walked him to the team cafeteria, where the entire staff was assembled for a farewell, complete with a standing ovation, a cake, and a football signed by everyone in the Eagles’ organization.

“Tears and hugs,’’ Lurie said. “I’ll always remember bringing the employees together and them giving him a standing ovation on his last day. That meant a lot to him and to us.

“From the day he got there, he was beloved in that building, and appreciated. His work ethic, his attention to detail, his caring about individuals on a human basis; things the public never has easy access to or gets to see.”

Again, Reid was implored to take time off by his friends, including Mike Holmgren, who recommended that Lurie hire Reed, a protege, in 1999 after Holmgren passed on the job to become the Seahawks head coach. Again, Reid carried on, to Kansas City.

“I didn’t advise him because I always feel with Andy, he knows best about what’s best for him,’’ Lurie said. “I was a little surprised he wanted to get right back into it and not take a year off. But he knew himself better than any of us did.’’

Joe Banner, who stepped down as Eagles president the year before, was among those rebuffed.

“Everybody I know was telling him the same thing,” Banner told the Inquirer. “But he was like, ‘This is what I do. I’m ready to go. Sitting around with all that idle time would be deadly to me.’”

“He proved that he knew himself better than everybody else.”

A year ago, the Chiefs lost the AFC Championship at home 37-31 in overtime to New England. The chance for redemption, and to fulfill Reid’s legacy, is high up on the to-do list for KC players.

“A huge part of me wants to win one for him,” veteran OT Eric Fisher said. “It’s the one game he hasn’t been able to check off his list, and to be a part of that for a coach that’ll probably go down as a legendary coach, to be a part of that, it’s something I’ll remember forever.”

A lot of NFL coaching legends — Bud Grant, George Allen, Marty Schottenheimer, Marv Levy, Don Coryell, Dan Reeves, Chuck Knox — have had distinguished careers that were devoid of the ring.

Those who have worked with or for Reid have no doubt where their sentiments reside Sunday. The casual fans who may watch their only football game of the year Sunday need to get on the bandwagon.

Kansas City 31, San Francisco 29. I’m willing to sacrifice good stories next season for a splendid one Sunday.

 


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YourThoughts

  • dingle

    A Chiefs victory on Sunday would serve two noble purposes:

    – It provides Andy Reid, who by all accounts is one of the good ones, with his ring and cements his legacy.

    – It prevents me from having to suffer through even-more-annoying-than-usual 49er jock-sniffing down here in sunny Santa Clara.

    • art thiel

      Save for the Black Hole costume crowd, most Bay Area football fans will forget a 49ers SB win in three weeks.

      • Kristafarian

        Who?

  • coug73

    Art, well, well, well you sentimental sports scribe I wish the ‘Walrus’ a good game and may the best team win.

    • art thiel

      I’ve always been the tender, gooey, sloppy sort.

  • Kevin Lynch

    Reid is really deserving. Mahomes is the best in the game. But this is one of those game manager vs. run-and-gun greats that often has galling results in a Super Bowl. When the game manager has the superior defense and better lines, to say nothing of the most inventive offense in the game, he is a virtual lock. If I was a betting man I’d bet this to hell and back. San Francisco 31, Kansas City 17. But then I’m not a betting man and am biased toward Bay Area teams, and have been since 1962. So disregard this.

    • art thiel

      I would disregard, except I saw the 49ers in the NFC title game have three TD drives without throwing a pass. That is some crafty innovation because relatively little run game was between the tackles.

      • coug73

        Yes, the 9er’s ran anywhere they wanted between the boundaries.

  • Husky73

    Tough to see the 9ers winning a track meet.

    • art thiel

      Tell the New Orleans Saints that.

  • coug73

    Art, sensible, sentiments indeed. The “Walrus” deserves a winning Super Bowl ring.

    • Husky73

      The Walrus was Paul.

      • coug73

        Who was the” egg man”?

        • Husky73

          John.

    • art thiel

      Reid is an old-school dude with a kid nerd’s passion for disruption.

  • Kirkland

    If KC wins, I’m worried that many will hang a “yes, but” or an asterisk on Andy Reid’s championship, as he didn’t have to go through New England or Baltimore (my SB pick).

    • art thiel

      Nah. It will be legit. The Pats weren’t as good as their 8-0 start, and a defense finally figured out how to curb Lamar Jackson slightly, which was going o happen.

  • woofer

    “Reid is the most compelling figure in the Miami hootenanny, as well as arguably the best coach to never win a Super Bowl. Plus, it’s been 50 years for Chiefs fans, who look at aggrieved Mariners fans and offer a dismissive smirk.”

    If history is a guide, the fact that this year’s contest is being universally promoted as the Andy Reid Feel Good Game should make it at least slightly more likely that KC wins. But only if the game is close at the end. Obviously, a blowout is a blowout. But if the game is close, a few ref calls in KC’s favor could make the difference.

    This is not to say that any of the refs would deliberately make a bad call, or would be asked to. But they understand how the marketing department’s ideal game script is supposed to unfold, and how its thrilling and sentimental manifestation would warm their bosses’ hearts. You can call — or not call — holding on almost any play. And, as we know, expectations can influence judgment.

    Some oldsters may recall a similar situation that arose years ago. Another game that also needed some jazzing up. Two small market teams playing the Super Bowl in a cold dismal setting, Detroit. The NFL desperately sold the game to the public as the Jerome Bettis Feel Good Game. Gritty old work horse back on gritty working class team from gritty working class city playing for the championship in the grittiest venue of them all — and the ancestral home of Jerome Bettis. In other words, Jerome Bettis’s dream homecoming career exit.

    Guess what? The football gods smiled and the NFL’s Jerome Bettis dream scenario actually came true. And the refs helped them do it.

    • art thiel

      I know it’s hard for any Seahawks fan to let go of the NFL conspiracy theory in XL, but the NFL then and now is so successful that they don’t need to fix outcomes for any reason. The NBA couldn’t say that in 1992 re: Sonics-Suns.

      What we have seen in intervening years is enough officiating mistakes in big games to know it happens with regularity to all teams. And it’s grown worse because the rules changes have made the game hard to officiate accurately, even with replay.

      • Kristafarian

        Let the algorithms call it.

        Hell, let ’em Play.

      • Husky73

        Sonics-Suns ?????????????????????????????????

        • art thiel

          When the NBA so wanted the Barkley-Jordan NBA Finals matchup that the refs cooked G7 of the 1992-93 West Finals to eliminate Seattle. Free throw disparity 64-36. Thanks, David Stern.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aS8LMbgrYUw

          • jafabian

            The Suns shut down Ricky Pierce and kept him off the free throw line. Something no team could do all season. Kemp, McMillan and Eddie Johnson who lead the team with 34 points fouled out. This game has never sat well with me.

          • art thiel

            I don’t think you and I are alone. George Karl makes three.

          • Husky73

            So, you are accusing the officials of a fix?

          • art thiel

            I’ve said and written for years that the game officials, full-time employees of the league, understood without being told that a Barkley-Jordan Finals was in the league’s best interests. There is no other way to account for the foul disparity between two good teams in a G7.

          • jafabian

            And that in itself isn’t unusual? Not so much Barkley but for the Sonics? That as a team all of s sudden they went cold? Ricky Pierce, who was 6th in the league in FT percentage, attempted only one free throw. His game was getting to the line. Up until that game he had been averaging 5.6 attempts and had 2 games where he attempted 8 according to basketball-reference.com. A Sonics-Bulls matchup was not what the league wanted. I checked for officials and disgraced referee Tim Donaghy didn’t officiate any games, Darrell Garettson and Dick Bavetta are the only officials who worked more than one game. The Sonics won the two Garrettson worked and lost the two Bavetta did for what it’s worth. All the Sonics from that team have questioned the legitimacy of the outcome. Players and coaches.

  • Will Ganschow

    Right on sportswriter.

    • art thiel

      Far out, sports reader.

  • jafabian

    It should come down to the QBs and the Chiefs have that battle in spades. If they still had Kareem Hunt there wouldn’t be any doubt.

    • art thiel

      Run, ‘Homes, run.

  • Kristafarian

    Listening to the 49ers game two weeks ago
    it seemed easy to make the call —

    49ers by a Lot
    two toucdowns at least.
    But a Great Game’d be the sweetest deal.

    • Husky73

      Wouldn’t that be “Lott?”

      • art thiel

        Easley does it on the word play, pal.

        • Husky73

          I was zorn to be wild.

  • ll9956

    It’s a little confusing, Art, to read in your first sentence that you’d like SF to win tomorrow and then read all the reasons that it would be heartwarming if the Chiefs could win one for Reid. As for myself, I’d like to see KC win. They’ve not won for 50 years, whereas SF has won five times. I have an incurable weakness for the underdog (in terms of number of wins).

    • art thiel

      Read a little closer. I said as a writer, SF. If I were a fan (which I’m not), Reid and KC.