On Sunday Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid did what no NFL head coach has ever accomplished. Andy Reid became the first coach to ever win 100 plus games with two different franchises. Twice in his career Andy Reid has took over struggling teams and turned them into perennial winning organizations.
A fan and player favorite, “Big Red,” is known as one of the most beloved coaching figures in professional sports. His 100th win with the Chiefs was a storybook win that the NFL front office must have been thrilled with; he achieved the record in Philadelphia against the franchise he posted 140 wins with during his tenure from 1999-2012. With a Super Bowl win under his belt, he is destined for the NFL Hall of Fame on a first ballot.
Lean Times In The Kingdom
The Chiefs Kingdom, before Reid’s arrival, was mired in mediocrity. At best, they were middle of the road at their worst, they wallowed in the bottom tier of NFL teams. Sure, they had flashes post-Marty, but never had an identity or a coach who gave them a winning culture that would last.
Oddly, it was another former Philadelphia Eagles coach who would have tenured one of the more productive eras in the last 20 years. Dick Vermeil, who’s Era ran from 2001-2005. After starting 6-10 his first season, improved dramatically with an offense that dominated the AFC, the problem, Vermeil’s defenses. Not unlike Vermeil, Andy inherited a broken-down team.
Post Marty Schottenheimer’s ten-year reign, and minus Vermeil, the Kingdom was subject to various failed attempts to find a quality head coach. None of those attempts netted more then a .500 record at the end of their brief run. Outside of Vermeil’s term, no coach (since Schottenheimer) lasted more than three seasons in the role. Until Andy Reid, that is.
Gunther Cunningham seemed viable after Marty’s departure having been defensive coordinator for 4 years under Marty. Cunningham put together some of the Chiefs’ finest defenses. But it was not to last, with Gunther only lasting two seasons, although posting the best record (16-16) of any coach outside of Vermeil. Until Andy Reid that is. With Gunther sandwiched in between Vermeil and Schottenheimer, things went in a rudderless disastrous turn for the Chiefs. For eight seasons, the Chiefs failed time after time with hires, many questionable hires for a start.
Herm Edwards Era
Herm Edwards was the first post-Vermeil hire. Edwards was a headscratcher, to say the least, going 39-41 during his time with the NY Jets. Edwards was coming off a 5-15 record in his final 20 games. What possessed Chiefs President Carl Peterson to hire a coach who just finished a 4-12 season is still baffling.
As many expected, the Herm Edwards Era was an error. To Edwards’s credit, he managed to back the Chiefs into the playoffs during the 2006 season; he did set an NFL record in futility by not getting a single first down in the first half against the Indianapolis Colts, losing 23-8. Edwards would hold the head coaching position for three seasons, going 15-33 with a win percentage of .313.
Todd Haley Era
Next up on the coaching carousel was Arizona OC Todd Haley, ugh. The one season wunderkind, Haley was going to do it his way or no way. Haley, along with Scott Pioli, were fixated on creating the mid-west version of the “Patriots Way.” It and they failed miserably. With rumors of unhappy players and front office personnel, Haley fell and fell fast from favor with staff and fans alike. The Chiefs were at an all-time low. Chan Gailey, leftover offensive coordinator for the Chiefs, and Haley clashed almost immediately. This left more turbulence in the waters surround a floundering team.
Haley would relieve Gailey of play-calling duties and started his stint 0-5 during the 2009 season. Things were no better with the players as RB Larry Johnson became highly critical of Haley’s ability to coach. Johnson openly criticizing Haley on social media. Johnson would be later released.
Haley’s three seasons as head coach were mired with questionable decisions. High on that list, playing his starters in the final preseason game in the 2011 season. Chiefs TE Tony Moeaki ended up injuring his knee in that game, effectively ending his season. Haley would be fired 13 games into that season-ending up with a 19-26 record.
Romeo Crennel Era
The last man up before the hiring of Andy Reid, Romeo Crennel. With Pioli still focused on recreating the Patriots in Kansas City, the former Patriots defensive coordinator and Cleveland Browns head coach was brought in as defensive coordinator during the 2010 season. Unlike Herm Edwards, Crennel had finished his head coaching stint with a miserable 4-12 season with the Browns.
After Haley’s firing, Crennel took over as interim head coach going 2-1, then starting the 2012 season. Crennel insisted on remaining defensive coordinator and the Chiefs were off to a 1-7 start. With his brief tenure marred by the suicide of LB Jevon Belcher, the Crennel Era was another poor decision on a former failed coach by the front office. Crennel lasted one season without the interim tag and finished with a 4-15 record.
After Clark Hunt had finally had enough of following a pattern of hiring failed, or unproven coordinators for five out six of coaching hires lasting nearly 13 years, enter Andy Reid. Reid started his coaching career with the Green Bay Packers in 1992; this was the same year the Packers would draft Brett Favre. Bouncing around from a variety of offensive coaching positions Reid would experience his first Super Bowl win in 1996.
Eventually, Reid was named QB coach and was initially targeted by Steve Mariucci for offensive coordinator for the 49ers. Packers head coach Mike Holmgren blocked the move. Holmgren’s attempt to keep Reid on the Packers was short-lived; in 1999, Andy Reid was hired to resurrect the Philadelphia Eagles from their own time in the basement of the NFC.
Andy Goes East
The Eagles had questionable hires and had just come off a 3-13 season under Ray Rhodes. Reid’s hire made him the second-youngest head coach in the league. Although only accounting for two additional wins his first season, going 5-11, the following 2000 season Reid would catapult the Eagles to a powerhouse behind the QB play of Donovan McNabb. Reid also delivered the Eagles’ first playoff win to the organization since 1995.
Sound familiar Chiefs fans? Reid would win the first of four consecutive NFC East titles the following season, still the longest such streak in Eagles team history. Reid would also take the team to four consecutive conference championship games from 2001-04. After losing three of those, Reid finally pushed through and took the Eagles to Super Bowl in the ’04 season, ultimately losing the Patriots 24-21.
Although Reid’s success was up and down for the rest of his time with the Eagles, he become the winning-est head coach in Eagles franchise history. Reid would also consistently steer the Eagles back to playoffs regularly. Of his 12 years with the team, the Eagles qualified for the postseason nine times. The final two season with the franchise would prove the first time in his tenure that the Eagles would miss the playoffs in consecutive season under Reid. In 2012, Reid was the longest-tenured head coach in the NFL, he would end the season, ironically at 4-12, the Eagles decided that would be his final year in Philly.
Big Red Chooses Red
Enter Clark Hunt. The story goes that three teams were vying for Reid, Hunt got on a plane with his appreciation for coaches with 4-12 records, landed in Philly and got his coach. With the hire, the Kingdom was saved; our Knight was a cheeseburger loving stalwart who knew how to win. And win, he would.
With Reid’s victory on Sunday, his 100th win with the Chiefs, Reid accomplished the record of 100 wins with two franchises and logged more victories than any of his modern predecessors. Reid registered his 100th win after just nine years with K.C. with seven of those victories including playoffs and a Super Bowl. Looking back, it took 15 years and six head coaches to match that record of 100 wins and not a single playoff win to be found.
Is Andy Reid building a dynasty? Does it matter? Reid has delivered wins, playoff berths, playoff wins, two Lamar Hunt AFC Championship trophies, and the elusive Super Bowl victory missing from his storied resume. With that list, he has brought the Chiefs recognition as the class of the AFC.
NFL fans, not just Chiefs fans or Eagles fans, owe Andy Reid thanks. Reid brings a measure of likability with a touch of humor to the head coaching position. With his Hawaiian shirts, love of food or dressing up as Santa Claus, thank you Andy Reid and how about those Chiefs!?!