Kansas City Chiefs Coach Andy Reid, 64, Hopes to Cap Another Super Bowl Win With a Victory Cheeseburger
Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid and players Travis Kelce (#87) and Patrick Mahomes (#15) look on before taking the field against the Washington Football Team on October 17, 2021. Photo: G Fiume/Getty Images
When you’re watching the Super Bowl game this Sunday, look out for the big fella with the walrus moustache lumbering up and down the Kansas City Chief’s sideline.
It’s everyone’s favourite football coach, the affable 64-year-old cheeseburger-loving, Hawaiian-shirt wearing Andy Reid, who is seeking to lead KC to glory this Sunday when they take on the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII.
This is Reid’s fourth trip to the big game, three with the Chiefs and one with the Philadelphia Eagles, a team he coached between 1999 and 2012. He famously told reporters how he celebrated his first Super Bowl victory in 2020: “I had a cheeseburger and went to bed.”
Although in his mid-60s, Reid would not be the oldest coach to win the Super Bowl — that distinction goes to Bruce Arians, who, at 68 years old, did it two years ago, coincidentally against Reid’s Chiefs. Arians jokingly dubbed the cadre of older NFL coaches as the “Geritol Crew,” a list that includes fellow septuagenarians Pete Carrol and Bill Belichick.
The avuncular Reid, however, does his best to avoid being stereotyped as the sagacious, hardened, world-weary old coach. The Los Angeles native, who has happily adapted to the Midwest way of life, likes to play the dumb ex-football player, joking about everything from his unsophisticated diet to his wardrobe. He still has and drives a 1928 Ford Model T that his father bought for US$25.
As he told the press at media day, his three keys to life are: wearing Tommy Bahama shirts, eating cheeseburgers and being happy.
But don’t let appearances or goofy down-home demeanour fool you — Reid has a shrewd understanding of what makes players tick and remains perhaps the preeminent offensive mastermind in the game. Few can match him when it comes to developing young talent or devising Xs and Os.
Reid’s coaching philosophy, which he has honed since breaking into the league in 1992 as an assistant coach with the Green Bay Packers, boils down to tapping into the full potential of his players. “As a coach, you want to give your players the best opportunity that you can for them to succeed,” he said at a media conference this week.
Like many old-school coaches, he’s neither a yeller nor a disciplinarian. Nor does he demand that everything be done his way. Instead, he has learned how to reach out to younger players; and he has figured out how to mould his players into a cohesive unit without stifling their individuality.
He considers himself more of a “teacher” and “communicator.” He eschews playing mind games with the players but, instead, tells the truth about their abilities, whether it’s positive or negative. “I think if you just keep it open and real, I think that’s the best way to roll with it,” he says. The players seem to appreciate his honesty.
Perhaps this philosophy explains his uncanny ability to relate to younger athletes, most of whom are four decades his junior and come from different regional or cultural backgrounds. Just watch the way KC’s quarterback, Patrick Mahomes — unaware that he’s mic’d — describes Reid to a fellow player as being akin to a cool uncle and you’ll understand the generational bond Reid has managed to forge with his star player and leader, which filters down to the rest of the team. (You can see video of the exchange below)
And when you couple Reid’s penchant for developing winning offensive schemes with his ability to relate to his athletes, it’s little wonder the Chiefs have enjoyed their extraordinary recent run of success. He is currently fifth all-time in wins, behind only coaching legends Don Shula, George Halas, Bill Belichick and Tom Landry. This will be his team’s third trip to the Super Bowl in the last four years.
If Reid does manage to lift the Lombardi trophy above his head on Sunday, there has been speculation that he might follow the lead of the last two Super Bowl-winning head coaches — Bruce Arians and Sean McVay — and leave the game while he’s on top.
That may come as a surprise to Reid, who has never said anything publicly about stepping away from football after Sunday’s game.
The notion of him retiring was quickly shot down by Kansas City owner Clark Hunt, who recently said: “I think Andy is having too much fun coaching the Chiefs right now . . . I think he’s really enjoying what he’s doing . . . hopefully he’ll stay with us a bunch of years and win many more Super Bowls.”
It’s a sentiment that everyone in Kansas City and a great many football fans ascribe to. The sport is just better with Big Red around, marching up and down the sidelines, teaching young athletes how to play, eating cheeseburgers and winning Super Bowls.