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Imagine trying to manage, navigate — and excel — on one of the most important days of your professional life while dealing with what Andy Reid was facing on Sunday.
Super Bowl Sunday.
With his Chiefs trying to become the first team since the 2003-04 Patriots to repeat as champions.
Reid was coaching his Chiefs against the Buccaneers in Super Bowl 2021 at Raymond James Stadium with a heavy heart and a lot on his mind other than football, with his son Britt, a Chiefs linebackers coach, having allegedly caused a three-car collision on Thursday night in Kansas City that left a 5-year-old child critically injured.
The 35-year-old Britt Reid, who reportedly told an officer at the crash scene that he had between two and three drinks and was on a prescription for Adderall, was not at the game Sunday night, instead reportedly in the hospital and expected to remain there for days.
Thursday night’s incident dredged up past tragedy involving Andy Reid’s family.
His son, Garrett, died at age 29 of an accidental drug overdose during Eagles training camp in 2012. Britt was sentenced to 8 to 23 months in jail plus five months of probation on gun and drug charges in 2007.
So, these were the circumstances under which Reid was forced to coach on Sunday night — as if the task wasn’t already difficult enough to beat Tom Brady, playing in his 10th Super Bowl, and the defensively stout Buccaneers in their home stadium.
A win over the Buccaneers on Sunday obviously would enhance the legacy of Reid the football coach, a legacy that was Hall of Fame worthy long before kickoff in Tampa. A win with his son’s latest issue hanging over his head would border on a remarkable achievement that reaches beyond merely coaching.
That makes Reid’s story all the more fascinating, because remember when he was critically viewed as a head coach who couldn’t win the big game?
He was a coach who was competent enough to keep his teams competitive and in contention, but not good enough to carry them to championships.
For the first 20 seasons of Reid’s 22-year NFL career as a head coach, his teams finished just short of the ultimate goal.
Reid became tagged as “the winningest coach without a Super Bowl title’’ — much the way Phil Mickelson became the poster child in golf as “the best player never to win a major’’ before he finally broke through with his 2004 Masters title and went on to win four more majors after that.
Reid led the Eagles to a .583 winning percentage from 1999 to 2012 and nine trips to the playoffs, six NFC East titles, four consecutive NFC Championship games from 2001-04 and a trip to the Super Bowl.
But, until last season, he’d never won the big one, and there were more than a few fans in Philadelphia who were happy to see him leave town in 2012.
Reid often was criticized for poor clock management, which was warranted, and being outmaneuvered by opposing coaches. You don’t hear those criticisms anymore, though, do you?
Now Reid, at age 62, is known as a fearless play-caller — highlighted by his bold fourth-down call late in the game to beat the Browns in the AFC divisional playoff round — and he has an assistant coaching tree more prolific than anyone’s this side of Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick.
Entering Sunday’s Super Bowl, many of the prognosticators were favoring the Chiefs to beat the Bucs on the basis that they had the edge at both quarterback (Patrick Mahomes over Tom Brady) and head coach (Reid over Bruce Arians).
Entering Sunday night, there were 33 different winning Super Bowl coaches, 13 of them with more than one ring. A win for the Chiefs and Reid’s name would stand alongside multiple champions such as Vince Lombardi, Don Shula, Tom Landry, Parcells and Belichick.
Whether he could possibly enjoy a second straight win given the grim realities that await him with his son back home in Kansas City is an entirely different matter.
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