Despite the wins, the leadership, the playbook and the culture, Andy Reid still seems underappreciated by the Kansas City Chiefs fan base.
Kansas City Chiefs‘ fans are understandably ecstatic about their new, young signal caller Patrick Mahomes. He has completely electrified the fan base and is beginning to garner serious attention for NFL MVP. But, in all this fervor it’s easy to forget to give credit where credit is due. After all, didn’t head coach Andy Reid technically bring all of this good fortune to Chiefs’ Kingdom?
Reid has been somewhat maligned since he arrived in Kansas City for several reasons. His clock management, his stubbornness when calling plays, his reluctance to make changes to his staff. This consternation is understandable and even correct at times, but the flip side is also true.
Reid has brought a sustained level of success, which is only improving, that the Chiefs’ organization has rarely seen in its history. Let’s take a look at the holistic picture and see why fans should be more appreciative of Big Red. For simplicity, I’ll mostly highlight the first five years of Reid’s coaching tenure with the Chiefs.
Winning cures everything and Andy Reid is a winner—not only for the Chiefs, but for his entire career. Specifically, as head coach of the Chiefs, Reid has averaged almost 11 wins per year. To put that in context, the five years previous to his hiring, the Chiefs averaged only five wins per year. Even going all the way back to 2000, including the over-credited Dick Vermeil years, the Chiefs averaged only 7 wins per year.
What’s likely even more impressive is how quickly he instilled a winning culture in Kansas City. It’s honestly easy to forget how dreadful the Chiefs were the year before Reid arrived. They finished the year with only two wins, due mostly to individual heroics by Jamaal Charles against the Saints and a hapless Panthers team they luckily played at Arrowhead. To emphasize just how terrible that season was, the Chiefs lost half their games by more than two touchdowns. They ended the year with a 38-10 drubbing by the Denver Broncos. In short, they were basically unwatchable.
Reid not only came in and righted the ship, he did so quickly and with a bang. Reid captained the team to nine straight wins to start the 2013 season, finishing with a record of 11-6 and a playoff berth. While the year also ended with a bang, giving up a huge playoff lead, it was obvious the Chiefs finally secured the services of a quality coach. These services have led to more than just regular season wins.
Reid is rightfully credited by most as being an offensive mastermind. But, just how drastic was the contrast between Reid’s first five years with the team and the five years preceding his tenure? Pretty drastic.
In the five years preceding Reid, the Chiefs ranked in the bottom ten in points per game. Specifically, they averaged a ranking of 25th in the league. Outside of a few plays per game each week from Jamaal Charles, the offense was dreadful. Under Reid’s control, this offense has averaged a top ten ranking. Keep in mind, that’s not including the current season in which the team is likely to finish in either the first or second spot. Simply put, Reid has transformed this team offensively.
Why is this factor important and why should fans appreciate this? As alluded to above, a high scoring team is fun to watch. That’s not to say they haven’t had their struggles at times. But, generally speaking this team has been consistently good offensively and it’s something Reid doesn’t get enough credit for.
At first, this factor may not land home for most fans. Why should games scheduled in primetime have anything to do with what we think of a staff. But, if you really think about it, games scheduled in primetime show that a staff has built a team that NFL executives know casual fans of other teams are excited to watch. They schedule the teams they expect to get the highest ratings at the beginning of the season.
Early on in Reid’s tenure with the Chiefs this was not the case. But starting last year and continuing into this year, the Chiefs have been among the league leaders in primetime slots. Again, this is not an end all be all. But, it shows that NFL leadership has clearly taken notice of what the Chiefs have been doing over the past few years. Gone are the days when the Chiefs are not a relevant topic every year.
This should be more obvious to a fan base, but I feel like it doesn’t get the credit it deserves. While four playoff appearances in five years have only resulted in one playoff win, and a couple devastating losses, Reid’s handiwork has still given us a chance.
If you think about it contextually, would you rather never make the playoffs, and thus never experience hope and simultaneous disappointment from losing? Or, would you rather make the playoffs 80% of the time and win only occasionally. From my personal standpoint as a fan, making the playoffs and losing is still far more enjoyable than not making them at all. This generally means your favorite team had a quality season, even if it didn’t end in a Super Bowl.
It’s understandable that Chiefs’ fans are still not sold on Reid. After all, the ultimate goal of a franchise is to win a Super Bowl. Reid has been coaching for almost two decades, and while he’s made it to the final game he’s never won it.
But the preceding points and the fact that Reid now has the best quarterback of his career show the future is bright for the Chiefs. Reid has the perfect opportunity to improve on his illustrious career, which includes a Super Bowl appearance and numerous playoff runs, and this should excite Chiefs’ fans immensely. Given this and the majority of the franchise’s history, it’s reasonable to think that Reid might be underappreciated.