Players and coaches throughout NFL rooting for Kansas City Chiefs boss Reid
Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid will have players and coaches throughout the NFL rooting for him when his team take on the San Francisco 49ers in Sunday’s Super Bowl.
In his 21 years as a head coach, Reid has reached the post-season 15 times but this will be only his second Super Bowl, the first a 24-21 loss to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX.
His regular season record of 207-138 is the best in NFL history for a head coach without a Super Bowl title to his name.
But the support for Reid is not about a bad luck story – the 61-year-old has built a loyal army of friends throughout the league; even players he once cut, like former wide receiver Terrell Owens, are firmly in his camp.
“Andy’s been in the NFL for 21 years, and I don’t think he has a single enemy,” Chiefs trainer Rick Burkholder told ESPN.
If there has been one theme that Chiefs players have continuously returned to in the build-up to Super Bowl LIV it is this: win it for Andy.
“I’ll tell you what, that would mean the world to me and to a lot of guys on this team,” said LeSean McCoy who has played for five seasons under Reid, four of them with the Philadelphia Eagles.
“I think the last two weeks, I’ve had so many former players who played under coach Reid, even coaches from different teams, talk about ‘Dang, man, we want Andy to get a ring. He deserves it’. And we feel that.”
Reid’s popularity is personal – he is seen as a father figure to those who play for him, and a friend to those he meets.
“Everywhere you go, the way he treats people, you can tell people love him and care about him,” quarterback Patrick Mahomes said.
Reid, while appreciative, said he does not want to make this about him.
“I’m humbled by it, very humbled,” he said. “I’ve got great guys here and likewise around the league, but this game is about this team and the guys have worked so hard to get where they are.
“You’d love to say it’s one man but that’s not what this is, it’s a team.”
On Sunday, Reid will come up against a man 21 years his junior. Twenty-five years ago, Kyle Shanahan was a 49ers ball boy as his dad Mike – a two-time Super Bowl-winning head coach – ran a San Francisco offence powered by Steve Young and Jerry Rice, and regarded as one of the best ever in the NFL.
Kyle already knew what he wanted to do.
“I feel like I was a little different because I’ve been waiting to be a head coach my whole life,” he said.
His father helped open a few doors but Shanahan has worked his own way up, starting out as an analyst for Tampa Bay before joining the Houston Texans where he rose from wide receivers coach to offensive co-ordinator in three seasons.
He spent three years working for his dad at Washington before stints in Cleveland and Atlanta. One day after serving as offensive co-ordinator for the Falcons in their Super Bowl LI loss to New England, the 49ers hired him as head coach and tasked him with a huge rebuilding job.
The 40-year-old is known as an Xs and Os guy, preparing his team to the nth degree, but still able to connect with his players on a personal level outside the locker room.
“He feels like he can trust us, and we trust him,” safety Jimmie Ward said. “Kyle has been around football since he was yay high, so he knows it. His dad was a great head coach…Kyle knows how to coach.”