On Monday, the Kansas City Chiefs will officially introduce Andy Reid as their new head coach just one week after he was dismissed by the Philadelphia Eagles. Reid reportedly signed a five-year contract, but no financial terms were disclosed. Arizona was supposed to be his next destination for an interview, but the nine-hour question and answer session went so well the trip to the desert was cancelled.
Reid will take over a Chiefs (2-14 in 2012) team that looks a lot like the one he started with in Philadelphia (3-13 in 1998). He’ll be challenged to rebuild another franchise and make it a contender and he appears to be up to it. But what’s curious is, why would he want to do it again with other options that are clearly more attractive?
It would seem that Reid would see the Chicago Bears as a more viable franchise. They already have an established albeit enigmatic quarterback in Jay Cutler, as well as a stud wideout in Brandon Marshall and Matt Forte manning the ground game. No to mention an opportunistic, take-away machine defense. The Bears have the look of a team that is at the door step that needs that one coach that can kick it open, a la Jon Gruden in Tampa Bay. After fourteen years of not getting over the hump with the Eagles, rational thinking would suggest Reid would gravitate to Chicago. But with Green Bay and now the resurgent Minnesota Vikings in the NFC North, maybe the expectations would be too much, I don’t know.
Surprisingly, the Arizona Cardinals had interest in Reid. The Cards have owned the Reid-coached Eagles ever since upsetting them in the NFC title game in 2009. Yet they still wanted Reid and he would have reunited with his former quarterback, Kevin Kolb , who was his starter before losing the job due to a concussion. With all-world receiver, Larry Fitzgerald and an aggressive defense, Reid would only have to shore up the offensive line and further groom Kolb to turn them into a at least an NFC West contender. But, maybe shruggingly, the powerful San Francisco 49ers and upstart Seattle Seahawks are too much to compete with and overcome.
Why not the Buffalo Bills? They have great running game led by C.J. Spiller, along with Fred Jackson, receiver talent in Stevie Johnson and Donald Jones. He’d need a defensive coordinator to get that unit together and find a way to limit quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick’s turnovers…something he couldn’t do with Michael Vick. But, there’s two huge obstacles in his way in the AFC East. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady in New England. Reid has failed miserable against Belichick losing all three meetings, including Super Bowl 39. So I’m sure the Bills weren’t on Reid’s radar.
The San Diego Chargers would have seemed to have been Reid’s ultimate destination. He’s from southern California and with a chance to return home, that’s the job that most thought he’d be clamoring for. He could rebuild quarterback Phillip Rivers confidence with a couple of quality offensive lineman and with the veteran Antonio Gates at tight end, out-of-nowhere deep-threat Danario Alexander, Reid would have only had to hope oft-injured running back Ryan Matthews can play a full season. But Chargers owner Alex Spanos must have been paying attention to Reid’s last few seasons with the Eagles and wanted no part of Big Red, showing no interest.
With former Eagles President Joe Banner now CEO for the Cleveland Browns, Reid wasn’t even a consideration as they seem to have set their sights on Oregon’s Chip Kelly.
Now back to Kansas City, a midwest city with the 31st TV market and a loyal, yet docile fan base. Quite the opposite of the 4th market with a raucous, demanding fan base. K.C. has one city newspaper and a staff of reporters that will make a post-game news conference feel like a country club. They’ll be no screaming fans on sports talk radio looking to hurl insults on Sundays in and out of the stadium tunnel. Don’t get me wrong, there’s disappointment in K.C., it’s just a quiet, accepting one.
Now Reid is at a place that is the polar opposite of Philadelphia where he’ll be the king. He’ll be coaching in the AFC West where the only monster team is in Denver. But Peyton Manning will be 37 by next season and Reid will probably have possibly one or two more years to deal with him before he calls it a career, maybe shorter if he wins another Super Bowl. After that the division could be his if he can somehow revive the magic he had from 2000-2004. And surely that’s what Chiefs CEO Clark Hunt is betting on as he gave GM Scott Pioli his walking papers in favor of Reid.
And looking at how this whole hiring process unfolded, Reid chose a team that no one thought he was considering, which leads me to question whether he wants to win a Super Bowl or just coach where there is little to no pressure. Either way, after it’s all said and done, we’ll see just how ecstatic Chiefs fans will be or if Reid’s coaching and personnel moves turn them into thinking he’s Santa Claus, as they boo and throw snowballs.