Eagles column

Is Andy Reid now in the Best Ever conversation?

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Andy Reid, the guy who couldn't win the big one while he was here, can't stop winning the big one.

And his resume is reaching historic levels.

Three Super Bowl championships. Five Super Bowl appearances. Eleven conference championship games. Twenty-six playoff wins. 

But maybe the most impressive thing about Andy Reid is that he’s built two franchises from the ground up, taken both to Super Bowls, taken both to at least five conference title games, won double-digit playoff games with each.

Big Red never won a championship in his 14 years here, and that’s a hole in his resume. A painful one for Eagles fans. But think back to where this franchise was before Jeff Lurie hired him in 1999. The Eagles had won two playoff games in the previous 18 years. They had been to one NFC title game since the AFL-NFL merger in 1966. 

And his impact was immense even after he left. It was Doug Pederson – who never would have been here if Andy didn’t sign him as the Eagles' opening-day quarterback in 1999 and give him his first NFL coaching job in 2009 – who led the Eagles to their only Super Bowl title.

Love him or hate him, this franchise would not be where it is without Andy Reid.

Then think about where the Chiefs were before Reid arrived in 2013. Five winning seasons the previous 15 years. No Super Bowl appearances in 44 years. No back-to-back seasons with a playoff win in the franchise’s 53-year history.

And now this.

Big Red has revitalized two once-proud franchises and led both to their greatest extended periods of success.

Only nine other coaches in NFL history have taken one team to five conference championship games. Guys like Madden, Shula, Landry and Lombardi. 

Reid has taken two teams to at least five.

He's coached 25 years and had three losing seasons. All in different decades.

I can’t sit here and say Andy Reid is the best coach in history. Bill Belichick won six Super Bowls. Chuck Noll won four. Joe Gibbs and Bill Walsh also won three each.

But he’s for darn sure now in the conversation. 

The only coaches with more wins than Andy are Shula, George Halas and Belichick. The only coach with more playoff wins is Belichick – and Reid is now just five back. And gaining. The only coaches with more conference championships are Belichick and Shula. No coach in history has taken more teams to the postseason.

That’s the company he’s in now.

Belichick never won a playoff game without Tom Brady, although Brady won a Super Bowl in his first year without Belichick. 

Shula won championships with both the Colts and Dolphins, but he didn’t have the late-career success Reid is having. His last 14 seasons, his teams made the playoffs just twice and didn’t win a championship. 

What's remarkable about Gibbs is that he won Super Bowls with three different quarterbacks – Joe Theisman in 1982, Doug Williams in 1987 and Mark Rypien in 1991. But even Gibbs’ teams only reached the postseason in four of his 16 seasons as a head coach. Big Red is at 19 for 25.

Reid won nine postseason games with Donovan McNabb, one with Jeff Garcia and 16 with Patrick Mahomes.  

Only eight other coaches have won nine playoff games with one quarterback.

When Reid left the Eagles after the 2012 season, there were only 11 coaches in history with more postseason wins. Then he goes and builds a dynasty in Kansas City. And three Super Bowl titles and 16 postseason wins later, here we are.

What I like most about Reid’s story is the perseverance. He didn’t win a championship his first 20 years as a head coach. He was on the Marty Schottenheimer career track. But he just kept grinding, he confronted his coaching flaws, he listened to GM Brett Veach – a one-time Howie Roseman assistant – when he said this Mahomes kid at Texas Tech is special, and the rest is history.

This year was Reid’s most impressive ever because nothing came easily for the Chiefs. They lost five of eight games during the middle of the season – including a home loss to the Eagles – and as recently as Week 17 they had a worse record than the Eagles. 

They had to win in Buffalo and Baltimore on the way to Vegas, they had to beat the No. 1 seed in both conferences and they had to overcome a 10-point deficit Sunday in the second quarter and a three-point deficit in overtime.

It’s kind of symbolic that the Chiefs are the first team to win back-to-back Super Bowls since the Patriots beat Reid’s Eagles in Jacksonville in 2004. 

Philly definitely has a love-hate relationship with Reid. He drove us crazy at times and provided Eagles fans with a lot of misery – both coaching for the Eagles and against them.

And I get why so many Eagles fans can’t stand Reid, won’t root for him and consider him the enemy. It’s understandable. 

But if you step back a little bit and look at the body of work, it’s truly astonishing.

Is he the best ever? 

Not yet. But Mahomes is only 28 and under contract for eight more years, Veach keeps building championship rosters and Reid’s coaching staff is loaded. 

They're not going away.

Nobody knows how much longer Big Red wants to do this, but the Best Ever tag is dangling in front of him. And it’s not that far off.

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