Leo: Reid deserves Super Bowl more than anyone

James Leo | Staff Columnist

Nov. 6, 2020

Dear Andy Reid,

As a die-hard Eagles fan, I can confirm that you had a great run with the Eagles.

Things didn’t start well after a 5-11 campaign in 1999, but things quickly turned around for the better.

You led the Eagles to six postseason appearances in eight years. In your 14 years as the head coach, you led Philadelphia to five NFC championship games, and even won in 2004.

Even though you never won on the biggest stage with the Eagles, we loved you. You did things for Philadelphia that I never could have imagined; you won 130 regular season games and 10 postseason games. You brought consistent success to the city for 14 years.

I think I speak on behalf of all Eagles fans when I say that it hurt to see you go. Things didn’t go our way in the 2012 season, but part of me didn’t feel that it was your time to go. You embodied what Philadelphia wanted in a coach — hard-working and productive, and most of us felt that you would have reached the summit had you stayed.

You continued to prove your coaching talents at Kansas City Chiefs by leading them to an 11-5 record (and a postseason appearance) in your first season as head coach, and five more postseason appearances in six years.

And, as history has shown, you improved with every season. Although your postseasons in 2016 and 2017 proved fruitless, you did reach the AFC Championship game in 2018. Unfortunately, the virtually unstoppable Patriots took your ticket to the big game.

This year, you demonstrated once again that you have what it takes to make it to the big game even with all of the hurdles that the game placed in your way.

Your franchise quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, went down in Week 7; and your star players LeSean McCoy, Tyreek Hill and Damien Williams also battled injuries throughout the year. Even Chris Jones was listed as questionable for the Super Bowl.

Further, it seemed as though you would still need to go through the Patriots to get your ticket punched.

However, a break did come your way. After the Patriots lost in Week 17 against the Dolphins, you clinched a first-round bye.

In the Divisional round, your Chiefs faced a 24-0 deficit early in the second quarter. Things seemed dire, but you and your team were already battle-tested. Your team would go on to score 28 in the second quarter to take the lead by halftime, and eventually move on to the AFC Championship game.

As every fan knows, the further you go in the postseason, the harder the challenges become. Even though the Chiefs were favored to win, the Titans were determined to upset your team and took a 17-7 lead with 6:39 remaining in the second quarter. Then, as if you were writing your own highlight film, your team stormed back to take the lead before halftime, and would later advance to the Super Bowl to face the San Francisco 49ers.

Your experience in the Super Bowl is well known; you made it twice as a positions coach on the Packers, and once as the head coach with the Eagles. This experience would later help you in this game.

This game started differently than your last two. Your Chiefs made it 10-3 early in the second quarter, after a long drive ended in a field goal.

After being criticized for poor clock management during your tenure with the Eagles, you were more aggressive in this game. You went for (and converted) two fourth downs on your two first-half scoring drives.

Your experience in the big game seemed to be helping so far.

But then, as if history was trying to repeat itself, the 49ers would post a good lead. San Francisco tied the game at 10 before the half and then scored 10 unanswered points in the second half to make it 20-10. The game would remain 20-10 until the fourth quarter, before your team would start its comeback. Similar to your game against the Titans, the Chiefs proved that its offense will not die by posting 21 unanswered points in the final seven minutes to win Super Bowl LIV.

Many Philadelphians took to social media to congratulate you, but I think that most feel it is bittersweet to see you win with a different team.

In fact, I see similarities between this Chiefs team and the 2005 Eagles. The big similarity I see is how you took a similar approach to bring up both Donovan McNabb and Mahomes.

With McNabb, you started Doug Pederson for the first eight games, before giving the keys to McNabb.

With Mahomes, you started Smith for a season before giving Mahomes the reins.

If you decide to retire on top, I wish to congratulate you on a great career.

If you continue to show the world that you can build a dynasty, then I am sure I am not alone in wishing you continued success in Kansas City.

Enjoy those cheeseburgers.