March 12, 2013
What do you do when you have just been released from the business that you have managed for the last 11 years? When your expectations and the company’s expectations have not been met for the second consecutive year and they let you go, what could your next move possibly be? When you give them your all, develop and showcase the mediocre talent that they have assembled, and they still push you out of the door, what do you do? If you are Andy Reid, then you walk into the office of a competitor, take the same job at their firm, and get ready to rub your former team’s noses in it. Big Red has moved into the perfect coaching job in Kansas City.
Andy Reid got hosed by Philadelphia. He turned the Philadelphia Eagles into a contender after inheriting the job in1999. In 2001 in Philadelphia, he also earned the position of Head of Football Operations which allowed him to act as general manager. He garnered and utilized talent through astute drafting of hidden gems and by combing through free agency for solid additions. He acquired Donovan McNabb, the franchise quarterback who became the face of the team for a decade. He signed Brian Westbrook who was the Eagles only real offensive threat for the early years of his tenure. Reid signed the controversial Terrell Owens and took the Eagles to their first Super Bowl in 20+ years. Reid built an Eagles franchise that contended for a championship every year and went to four consecutive conference championship games from 2001-2004. He cut Donovan McNabb, brought in the dynamic and mercurial Michael Vick, and returned the Eagles to the playoffs. Andy Reid made McNabb, Vick, Jeff Garcia, Kevin Kolb, Ty Detmer, and a host of other quarterbacks “perceivably” more accurate and effective than they actually played and received draft picks and other football currency in return for them. And, the Eagles management let him go anyway. They saw a talented team that was heading in the wrong direction. The Eagles had an enigmatic quarterback, a fast, powerful running back(LeSean McCoy; Reid drafted him), the most explosive wide receiver in the league(DeSean Jackson; Reid drafted him too), but failed to make the playoffs for the second year in a row. The Philadelphia franchise blamed Reid for the underachieving team and Jeffrey Lurie, the team owner, fired him on Dec 30, 2012.
So, Reid began interviewing for another position with other teams. And, within a few days, he was negotiating a contract with Kansas City. By January 4th, 2013, Andy Reid had become the head coach and general manager of the Kansas City Chiefs. Only Mike Shanahan of the Washington Redskins and Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots share the distinction of heading all football operations in their organizations. Reid is a master of falling upwards. He is a former college player and coach with no NFL experience, yet he received a chance to become a line coach in the National Football League. He happened to join the Green Bay Packers when they drafted Brett Favre, one of the best quarterbacks that ever lived. The success of Favre and the Packers (specifically their Super Bowl win) with Reid handling offensive strategies catapulted him into a position with the Eagles under Ray Rhodes. After a 3-13, Rhodes was out and Big Red was in the driver’s seat of the Eagles. He had no previous experience as a head coach. He had never been an offensive or defensive coordinator on a NFL team. The only experiences that Andy Reid had as a NFL coach was winning a championship as a marginal member of the Packers and being a big contributor to a losing team. But, Reid won the job despite his limitations and excelled at his job.
Now that Reid has been released from his job in Philly, he has once again walked into a better situation. His stars in Philadelphia were older, injury-prone, and discontented. In Kansas City, Reid inherits a Pro Bowl running back, Jamaal Charles, a Pro Bowl wide receiver, DeWayne Bowe, and 6 Pro Bowlers on defense, including Eric Berry, one of the best young safeties in the league. He added veteran Pro Bowl quarterback Alex Smith through a trade with the 49′ers, and he now has one of the most loaded teams in NFL playing in one of the weakest divisions. In all likelihood, the Kansas City Chiefs will make the playoffs next year, and they might contend for a championship. Andy Reid was fired and pushed right into his dream job.
Some people seem to get all the right breaks. Andy Reid never played professional football, but coached in the pros and won a championship because he was on the right team. He never held the right position to be promoted to head coach, but won the job anyway. And, he was unjustifiably released from that job, but found a better job. It looks like Big Red wins again.