ANDY REID WAS at a career crossroads in the early days of 2013. He had just finished the most difficult year of his career, beginning with the death of his son Garrett — he died of an accidental overdose, according to the Northampton County, Pennsylvania, coroner — during training camp and finishing with the Eagles at 4-12, the worst record of his career.
His 14-year tenure as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles ended in his firing.
Some friends told Reid, then 54, that it might do him some good to step away from football for a year to relax and refresh.
Reid said he considered the idea but never seriously. He would tell them unfailingly he was more worried about himself if he didn’t have the seven-day-per-week structure that coaching provided.
That was 11 years ago.
The Kansas City Chiefs job he took only days after being fired by the Eagles has turned out better than he dared dream. Under his guidance, the Chiefs won a pair of Super Bowls and could get a third on Sunday when they face the San Francisco 49ers at Allegiant Stadium (6:30 p.m. ET, CBS).
Reid is now approaching another crossroads. His 25th season as an NFL head coach will be over after Super Bowl LVIII, and he turns 66 next month.
The Chiefs, unlike the Eagles 11 years ago, are certainly comfortable with Reid coaching next season and into the foreseeable future. How Reid feels about it is uncertain. He recently said he hadn’t given the matter any thought.
The question at the center of it: Has enough changed in those 11 years that Reid would be comfortable leaving behind coaching and the chance to win more Super Bowl championships with Patrick Mahomes at quarterback?
Those closest to Reid would be surprised.
“He’s in a good place, not just with Pat but with his coaching staff and with the personnel staff,” Kansas City general manager Brett Veach said. “This is the setup he’s always wanted. I think he has a lot of football coaching ahead of him, and I can see him coaching for the foreseeable future here. I think he’s got a good chunk of time left.”
EVERY YEAR BEFORE training camp, Reid takes a vacation. He often heads to a house near the beach in California. Even then, he takes work with him.
He’ll spend a couple of hours a day on football, whether he’s watching video or drawing up plays for possible inclusion in the playbook.
“I enjoy doing that,” Reid said. “Some people read novels. I look at plays.”
Chiefs special teams coordinator Dave Toub has worked with Reid for almost 20 years in the NFL and college, including all 11 seasons with the Chiefs. He said he has never known Reid to do much more than tend to his job.
“[Football] is his hobby,” Toub said. “This is all he does. I’m trying to get Andy to play golf. I’m trying to get him to go hunting. He just won’t do it.”
Reid has a non-football bucket list. He is vague about what’s on it, though he did say that items such as climbing Mount Everest and breaking par at Pebble Beach are not included.
“There are things you want to do,” Reid said. “I try to chip away at them. There’s nothing huge. I went to Italy [last summer]. Good eating. I ate my way from the north to the south.”
Mahomes thinks it’ll be a while before Reid is turning his attention to his bucket list full time.
“Other than spending time with his grandkids, he doesn’t do any of that stuff,” Mahomes said. “He’s all about football and cheeseburgers.”
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REID IS ALREADY the all-time leader in coaching wins for two franchises, the only coach who can make that claim. He has coached in 11 conference title games, including the current streak of six with the Chiefs.
Sunday will be Reid’s fifth Super Bowl and fourth with the Chiefs. He’s 2-2, counting a loss with the Eagles. He’s one of 13 head coaches with two or more Super Bowl wins and would be one of five with at least three if the Chiefs beat the 49ers.
Reid would walk away with a list of accomplishments few coaches have matched. But that hasn’t always been the main driver for Reid.
Not to say the wins and losses for Reid are unimportant. He takes the losses hard. One longtime friend said he has rarely seen Reid more despondent than after the Chiefs lost to the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship Game in overtime.
But Reid also enjoys the non-game day parts of his job — teaching and leading, dissecting video, designing plays, matching wits with opposing coaches. He starts every week during the season saying he is looking forward to the challenge presented by that week’s opponent.
“There’s a part of him that gets as much satisfaction from the daily routine and the camaraderie and helping people as from the winning,” Veach said.
“He’s an educator by nature and he spends as much time [talking] with people about their wives and their kids as anyone. That’s a big deal for him. It’s like he’s not just a coach but a life mentor to so many people, and I think that’s gratifying to him in so many ways. Not having that would be a struggle for him because he feeds off the positive energy, and he feeds off giving back.”
Reid has everything with the Chiefs that he has wanted: stable and supportive ownership from Clark Hunt; a bright general manager in Veach; a roster stocked with good, young players; and, of course, Mahomes, a generational talent who is 28 years old.
“He loves football so much,” Mahomes said. “Even in the offseason, he’ll text me, ask me questions, do I like this play or do I like that play? He loves being around the game and being able to enjoy it. We’re having so much fun. It’s not so much the winning. We legit have so much fun at the building that I think it would be hard for him to walk away.”
Reid’s departure would rock the Kansas City franchise in many ways. It seems long ago now, but Hunt remembers the state of the Chiefs before Reid’s arrival: five losing records in the previous six seasons as a once-proud franchise struggled to find its way.
With Mahomes at quarterback, the Chiefs are in a much better place. But if Reid leaves, continuing the success could depend on finding someone who, like Reid, can tie everything together.
That won’t be easy, but Hunt said he senses that task is far off.
“As I see Andy, he remains incredibly energized and excited,” Hunt said. “I think he has as much energy and passion as I’ve seen in the 10-plus years he’s been with us.”