National Sports

Chumps to champs: 'Big Red' Reid building Chiefs dynasty

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid has transformed the franchise into a potential dynasty - JAMIE SQUIRE / ©AFP
Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid has transformed the franchise into a potential dynasty - JAMIE SQUIRE / ©AFP

(AFP)

Andy Reid is the avuncular Kansas City Chiefs coach who has helped transform a broken franchise into a potential NFL dynasty.

Victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday would seal back-to-back Super Bowls for the Chiefs, who had fallen on hard times before Reid arrived in 2013.

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In the six seasons prior to Reid’s appointment, the Chiefs had won just 29 games and lost 67. In 2012, the team had finished with a dismal 2-14 record, propping up the bottom of the AFC West.

The organization Reid inherited was also raw from the trauma of linebacker Jovan Belcher’s horrific murder-suicide.

In late 2012, Belcher shot dead his girlfriend before driving to the Chiefs training facility and killing himself in front of general manager Scott Pioli and coach Romeo Crennel.

Reid, who was hired by the Chiefs in January 2013, just four days after being fired from the Philadelphia Eagles, had also endured a season touched by tragedy.

In August, his eldest son Garrett died from an accidental heroin overdose in his room at an Eagles training camp.

Reid’s arrival in Kansas City had a transformative effect. In his first campaign in charge, the team finished 11-5 and reached the playoffs.

The Chiefs have reached the post-season for six years running since 2015 and won a first Super Bowl in 50 years with victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Miami last season.

At the heart of the renaissance has been Reid, the jovial 62-year-old with a penchant for Hawaiian shirts known affectionately as “Big Red.”

Under Reid, the Chiefs have built a team boasting the NFL’s most potent offense, striking gold by snapping up quarterback Patrick Mahomes in 2017 with the 10th pick of the NFL Draft.

– Second chances –

In the three seasons since Mahomes became starting quarterback, the Chiefs have been two Super Bowls and came within a whisker of reaching a third.

Reid has been dubbed the “Patron Saint of Second Chances” for his willingness to give players a chance after off-field misdemeanors.

At the Eagles, he offered Michael Vick a chance at redemption in 2009 after the quarterback had served a prison sentence for involvement in a dog-fighting ring.

Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce was drafted in 2013 despite a suspension for marijuana use at college. Marcus Peters was chosen in the 2015 draft despite a volatile reputation.

“If you go about the right steps to right the wrong, then I think you deserve another shot,” Reid said later.

Heading into Sunday’s Super Bowl, Reid says his man-management style is comparable to a teacher.

“I think we all want to be treated a certain way, and if not, I know how I like to be treated, and that’s ‘Tell me what I need to do to get better at what I’m trying to accomplish,'” Reid said.

“You don’t necessarily have to yell and scream at me to get me to do something better,” Reid said. 

“So I just kind of go about it that way. I just say, ‘Listen, try to treat people the way I’d want to be treated.’

“I think we’re here as teachers and that’s what I do. So that’s how I look at myself, as a teacher of, in my case, men.

“And whether it’s on the field or off the field, if I can give them any experience that I might have had to help them become better players or husbands or whatever it might be, fathers, I try to do that.”

With Mahomes, Reid says he is simply trying to make a great player even better.

“The thing I’ve found with great players is they want you to give them one more thing so they can even be greater, and that’s the way I approach it,” Reid said.

“I think if you just keep it open and real, I think that’s the best way to roll with it. That’s how I feel, and that’s how I’ve been with Patrick. 

“I know he wants to be great.”

Rob Woollard

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