Chiefs Earn Another Parade for Missouri

By Howard Balzer

With the Stanley Cup and Lombardi Trophy now belonging to Missouri (despite the President’s lack of geographical knowledge), it is time to honor the Kansas City Chiefs, following their stirring come-from-behind Super Bowl win over the San Francisco 49ers Sunday.

The Chiefs became the first team in NFL playoff history to win three postseason games after falling behind by at least 10 points.

The victory pushed head coach Andy Reid’s postseason record to 15-14 and thankfully altered the narrative that he needed a Super Bowl win to ensure his legacy as a Hall-of-Fame coach.

Tight end Travis Kelce said afterward, “Coach Andy Reid, baby. We got a ring for Big Red. Can’t get rid of us now Red; you’re married to us forever. Forever!”

Of course, Reid might not have that championship had quarterback Patrick Mahomes not been other-wordly again after three quarters of struggles. Which is usually the case. Head coaches in the NFL don’t win without players making plays, and Mahomes makes them in abundance.

What he also provides is a youthful maturity that sparks his team when things look bleak. He did that in the first playoff game after the Chiefs fell behind Houston 24-0 in the first quarter and he did it again under the bright lights of a Super Bowl.

Wide receiver Tyreek Hill said, “He was encouraging us, telling us to believe. He saw it some guys’ eyes, they were getting down, including myself. I was like, ‘Man, how are we going to pull this off?’ and he was like, ’10, you’ve got to believe, brother. Like the same faith you’ve had all of your career, you’ve got to believe right now. It’s going to happen man, I can feel it.’ He brought the guys together, and you saw what happened, man. We pulled it off.”

Concluded Kelce, “It’s Magic Mahomes, it’s Showtime Mahomes. He willed this team back into the game.”

The fourth quarter began with Kansas City trailing 20-10 and on the sixth play from the 49ers 23-yard line on third-and-6, Mahomes was intercepted for the second time in the game on a pass that deflected off Hill. He had entered the game with no interceptions in his previous four playoff games. You could feel the life going out of the rabid Chiefs fans in Hard Rock Stadium.

However, Steve Spagnuolo’s defense stopped the 49ers after one first down, and it was magic time.

For the remainder of the game, San Francisco totaled 59 yards on 17 plays with three first downs, while the Chiefs totaled 206 yards (not including their kneeldowns at the end of the game) and 11 first downs on 25 plays.

49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was 4-for-12 for 39 yards in the final quarter while Mahomes was 11-for-16 for 154 yards and rushed for 28 yards on three plays. He completed his last six passes of the game, while Garoppolo ended his disappointing evening with four consecutive incompletions and an interception in desperation time.

Kansas City had 227 yards in the fourth quarter with 120 on three plays: a 44-yard pass to Hill, one for 38 yards to wide receiver Sammy Watkins and the game-sealing 38-yard touchdown run by running back Damien Williams.

49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan certainly wasn’t surprised by what the Chiefs did. He said, “That’s kind of how they’ve been all year. They’re not a team that does it every drive. They get a little bit hot and cold. They can score very fast. That’s why there were two playoff games where they were cold to start and they were down and then by halftime they fixed it in both games. That’s how that team is. It was a matter of time. They got a lot of plays. We didn’t convert those third downs in the fourth quarter. You don’t convert those third downs, you don’t get an explosive run, you don’t get too many chances.”

For Reid, in his seven seasons in Kansas City, his regular-season record is now 77-35 (68.8 percent) and 82-40 overall (67.2). The Chiefs missed the playoffs once with a 9-7 record in 2014 and aside from that there are four division titles and two playoff appearances as a wild card.

During his 14 seasons with the Eagles, there were six division titles and three wild-card appearances. Overall, in 21 seasons, his teams have won 11 or more games in the regular season 10 times.

Only five head coaches in history have won more than his 207 regular-season games and 222 including the postseason: Don Shula, George Halas, Bill Belichick, Tom Landry and Curly Lambeau. Reid is likely to pass Lambeau’s 229 total wins during the 2020 season.

That 222nd win Sunday came on 2-2-2020. He will now go back to work trying to add another 2 to his record: a second Super Bowl win. With Mahomes under center, don’t bet against it.


Following is Reid’s talk with the media Tuesday, the day after returning to Kansas City from Miami.


OPENING STATEMENT: “No injuries (laughter). That’s a good thing. I’m so happy for the city of Kansas City. What a great thing this is. The support we’ve had all year has been phenomenal, at home and on the road. It was no different there. For Patrick (Mahomes), it was no different at Disney World. It was a beautiful thing. The Hunt Family, what can you say? They’ve been phenomenal to work for. Clark (Hunt), obviously, following in his father’s footsteps, but then even taking it up a notch and keeping it as one of the top organizations, and now the top organization, in the National Football League. The entire organization, and the job that everybody did, there are so many people that don’t get recognized throughout the building. It was great to see them and the smiles on their faces for all of the hard work that they put in. The coaches and players, my hat goes off to them for the effort that they’ve put in and the resiliency they’ve had throughout the year. Those highs and these lows throughout a season, they powered through those. They never asked why. They were just so unsung that way. From a coach’s standpoint, a real pleasure to work with. All-in-all, a good day. Love standing here with this result. It’s a beautiful thing for a lot of people. Anyways, time’s yours.”

Q: Have you gone back and watched the game yet?

REID: “No. Today, I got in early and worked – I try to give the coaches and the players an offseason calendar, so that they know where they’re going and what to expect for the next however many months. That takes a little bit of time. (Senior Assistant to the Head Coach) Porter (Ellett) and myself did that. Didn’t have time to look at the game. I will, but I haven’t had a chance to look at it. Then, we met with the players. Met with every player and talked to them. They had their exit physicals and then we got them out of here – until tomorrow (the parade).”

Q: How different was it conducting those exit interviews after a Super Bowl win, compared to past seasons when those interviews were conducted following a loss?

REID: “It’s positive. Listen, there are challenges ahead. The fact that once you’re there, you want to go again, how do you go about that when expectations are extremely high? At the same time, enjoying what you’ve accomplished. There’s a fine balance there. We talked about that, what each person needed to do to up their game and what they did well. Everybody was positive, to answer your question in a roundabout way – which this team has been. They’ve been very humble that way.”

Q: Prior to the game, did you know what the message that you wanted to convey to the team today was going to be, whether you won or lost the game?

REID: “No. I didn’t plan it either way. I know this sounds redundant here, but I go in, focus in and put all of my energy into what it is going to take to win the game. My coaches do the same thing and the players do the same thing. Then, you go from the emotion of it after that. Like I said, I got in early, so I had some time before I met with them today to think through everything. I knew what I wanted when I got up there. Didn’t sound too foolish, right? Again, there are challenges. You have to remain humble and work hard. Those are the primary things. That’s what this team did. You have to be able to do that even after you kiss the Lombardi Trophy.”

Q: How soon did the turn to next season click with you, or has that not happened yet?

REID: “I ended up saying it right afterwards, so I guess it clicked in pretty quick. Once you’ve been there and experienced it, you want to go back. I was lucky enough, when I was younger and coaching in Green Bay, that I went to a couple of these. It’s great when you win. But there’s an urgency that you feel to get back. You have to step back and relax for a minute, and then it’s time to go. You’ll be everybody’s best game when you win that.”

Q: When you were an assistant with the Packers, what do you remember the offseason being like after winning the Super Bowl, before ultimately losing in the Super Bowl the next season?

REID: “We lost a couple of the leaders on our team. That was one thing. We got banged up a little bit, that was another thing. We played a good team. We were favored in the game. We went up immediately, on the first drive, and then we weren’t able to hold the lead.”

Q: What was the actual offseason like before that season?

REID: “It’s a tough road. That’s a tough road. It’s tough to get there anyways. It takes a special mindset to get there.”

Q: You’re answering from a team standpoint. In your perspective, how is this offseason going to be different for you personally?

REID: “I don’t know that, right? (laughter) I know that I’m going to work hard. I’m in this building a lot, unlike the players that are out there among everybody. I think it is a lot easier for me or one of the coaches to stay focused because we spend so much time here. That part won’t change. I’m not going to change. I’ve been doing it a long time. I’m not going to change that part.”

Q: You’ve mentioned about how your mentors belong in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Why is that honor so important for you? What’s so special about achieving that?

REID: “My mind doesn’t go there. I’m humbled by all of that stuff, but that’s not where I go. Whether we win or lose, I don’t think of it that way. I always tell you that each team has its own personality and you work with that – that’s the part that I enjoy, watching teams grow and the relationships that you develop. I don’t think much past that about what goes in the future. That’s out of my hands. I try to control what I can control, and that’s trying to get us to be better as a team.”

Q: In October of 2015, you saw the city celebrate the Royals and their parade. What do you remember of that spectacle?

REID: “It was unbelievable. (General manager) Brett Veach and I joke about this all the time, but we go to Philadelphia and boom, Philly wins it. We come here and boom, the Royals win it and I’m going dog gone, let’s go (laughter). What a celebration. It was phenomenal. I can’t wait until tomorrow. I know it’s going to be cold and all that, but your juices are going and everybody in the city going, I mean you’re talking over a million people. The schools are closed and businesses are closed. Let’s go. Let’s enjoy it. It took us 50 years to get here, let’s go. Let’s go. Keep the city intact (laughter). Let’s not ruin what we got but let’s enjoy the heck out of it.”

Q: You went to Q39 last night. What was the reaction by people with you being back in Kansas City for the first time as a champion?

REID: “There’s not a barbeque place first of all that I don’t like here. I mean I haven’t met one burnt end or rib that I haven’t liked. Listen, we went to Q39 and I had a craving for burnt ends, I wasn’t joking. I didn’t want my wife or myself cooking last night so my daughter, my sister-in-law and my wife and I went to Q39. We got some burnt ends and straws, you know those onion straws, a little mac and cheese and a diet coke to chase it. The fans were unbelievable there. The people there were unbelievable, and we took a lot of pictures. It was a great reception.”

Q: When you speak tomorrow, is it something you’re going to plan or let it come from the heart?

REID: “I normally let it go and talk from the heart. That’s how I roll.”

Q: You say you like to let your players’ personalities show and guys like Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce, do you ever have to step back and hope they don’t say anything out of line?

REID: “Listen, I’m around them all the time (laughter). I’ve dang near heard all of it. We’ll see what goes. I’m sure they’ll let their personalities show. Especially the second one you mentioned there.”

Q: Going into the offseason, how do you keep guys reeled in even with all the accolades?

REID: “We talked about that. That’s one of the things we talked about. They’re going to have a lot of opportunities in the short way but also understand what feeds the family and that’s this job here. Enjoy that, the other part of being a champion. On the other hand, you better get yourself right to play this game. There’s a fine line right there, you know, of doing it the right way and doing it the halfway. Don’t neglect the part that is the most important part of your profession, or your professional life at least.”

Q: Can you speak to what it’s like with Patrick to have essentially 50 bad minutes and then 10 straight minutes of good in a Super Bowl?

REID: “That’s what makes him a great player. It’s just one more thing that you’ve had a chance to see in his young career here. It wasn’t all pretty. It wasn’t all the way it was drawn up and all this, but he kept firing. He didn’t get down and a lot of the guys around him didn’t get down. I’ll tell you the same thing on the defensive side with Tyrann (Mathieu), the same deal. Frank Clark and those guys, they didn’t let things, and (Terrell) Suggs, those guys all stayed positive. We felt like if we pulled it together, we’d be OK. I think the great part of the game, when you go back and look at it even though might it just say the fourth quarter but part of the fourth quarter was field position, a great job by the special teams. The defense, stepping up and getting the stops they did and the offense getting on a roll where they were unstoppable there. That’s this team. That’s their mindset. They never give up. They work hard and that’s what you get.”

Q: I know it’s a luxury to have (right tackle) Mitchell Schwartz, but what is it like for him to not give up a sack in the postseason and for his play to get better as the stage just got bigger?

REID: “We have a ton of respect for him here and all that he does. That’s what’s made him so good with his stop here in Kansas City. He’s a big part of this thing and why we’ve had success. It doesn’t surprise me at all. That’s just how he’s wired. He’s a brilliant guy and loves to play the game.”

Q: You don’t make things about yourself but now that you have won a Super Bowl, is it freeing to accomplish what so many people around the league have said about you?

REID: “I mean I really don’t worry about those things. I didn’t before Sunday and I probably won’t after Sunday. I think we all try to do our best, I’m no different. I try to do the best I possibly can at the job I’m presented. You can’t do anything more than that if you exhaust that part of that. That part doesn’t change, and I’ll keep doing that. With that, I also respect that it’s a team sport and it’s not about one guy at all. I learned that when I played offensive line, as you know. It takes five guys to dance the dance and you have to be doing it the right way. It’s not about one guy there and you learn real quick that it’s about a team.”