Personifying perseverance

Andy Reid wins his first Super Bowl after 20-year legacy of failure

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U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Zach Sheely

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid talks to his team during a practice. Reid’s Chiefs overcame a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LIV to defeat the San Francisco 49ers 31-20. With his 222nd career win, Reid overcame 20 years of falling short of the most coveted prize in the NFL.

Failure seemed to define Kansas City head coach Andy Reid’s career. With 6:13 left to play in Super Bowl LIV, it appeared that Reid’s legacy of coming up short was all but solidified. Twenty-one unanswered points later, the Chiefs were crowned champions of the NFL. Just like that, decades of failure erased in a single quarter.

With 6:13 left to play in Super Bowl LIV, it appeared that Reid’s legacy of coming up short was all but solidified.”

— Staff Writer Daniel Stackhouse

Kansas City won its first Super Bowl in 50 years. Reid also made history hoisting the first Lombardi Trophy in his career and winning his 222nd game as a head coach. The emotion of this win for Reid is carried through 21 seasons of buildup.

Reid started his head coaching career back in 1999 when he was hired by the Philadelphia Eagles. In only his second year he led the Eagles to a successful season that ended in the divisional round of the playoffs. Philly Faithful had a lot to be optimistic about with Reid’s new Eagles.

A year later he coached the Eagles into a NFC Championship game against the St. Louis Rams and the “Greatest Show on Turf.” They carried a lead into the second half, but surrendered 16 points in the final 30 minutes, giving the Rams an easy path to Super Bowl XXXVI.

Philadelphia made the NFC Championship again the next two years. In 2002, they faltered in a 27-10 loss against the eventual Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The next year, the Eagles only put up three points in another disappointing loss against the Carolina Panthers.

In 2004, Reid in the Eagles finally got it done to make it to Super Bowl XXXIX. In a very tight contest, the New England Patriots edged out the Eagles to deny Reid his first Super Bowl victory. Reid would not go back to the Super Bowl at all during his tenure with the Eagles. He would go to another NFC Championship in 2008, but lost a late lead to the Arizona Cardinals.

His early years in Kansas City appeared to be a repeat of failures in Philadelphia.”

— Staff Writer Daniel Stackhouse

Reid would not take the Eagles past the Wild Card round in the next two years. In his final two years, he did not even make the playoffs. The final straw for Reid came in 2012. The Eagles went 4-12, a career-worst record for Reid as a head coach. The Eagles organization fired him after 14 seasons.

He bounced back when the Kansas City Chiefs hired him in 2013. In his first season with the Chiefs he brought them to the playoffs only to give up a 21-point lead in the second half against the Indianapolis Colts in the Wild Card round. The Chiefs gave up another 21 point-lead to the Tennessee Titans four years later in 2017. His early years in Kansas City appeared to be a repeat of failures in Philadelphia.

New quarterback Patrick Mahomes helped usher in a new age for the Chiefs in 2018. Even with Mahomes and the Chiefs’ red-hot offense, they could not defeat the eventual Super Bowl champion Patriots in the AFC Championship.

Years of disappointment and underachieving in the playoffs brought Reid to 2019. He did his thing throughout the season, racking up a 12-4 record and a first round bye. In the divisional round, the Chiefs were already down 24-0 against the Houston Texans at the end of the first quarter.

Despite the monumental lead, Kansas City fought back to take the game 51-31 to advance to the AFC Championship for the second year in a row. The same pattern emerged in the next game against the Tennessee Titans who held a ten-point lead halfway through the second quarter. The Chiefs erased the deficit before halftime. They did not look back for the rest of the game, winning 35-24 and punching their ticket to Super Bowl LIV.

[H]e never quit. He trusted that one day, he and his team would be able to get it done.”

— Staff Writer Daniel Stackhouse

Last night, after years of failure, Reid redeemed himself with another comeback win. Going into the fourth quarter down by ten against the 49ers, his team found a way to score 21 unanswered points in the final six minutes. When the clock struck triple zeroes, Reid finally shed his legacy of failure and won his first Super Bowl.

Andy Reid defines perseverance. Despite never holding and kissing the Lombardi Trophy, he never quit. He trusted that one day, he and his team would be able to get it done. His mentality inspired many head coaches across the league, including Super Bowl winning head coaches John Harbaugh, winning Super Bowl XLVII with the Baltimore Ravens, and Doug Pederson, winning Super Bowl LII with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Persistence is the lesson that Reid’s story teaches. It is how he continued to manufacture success even if he was never able to get the big prize at the end. He only had three losing seasons and two .500 seasons in 21 seasons as a head coach, a feat few coaches have been able to replicate.

There is no doubt that Reid had a hall of fame-worthy career, and this achievement all but seals the deal. Reid deserves every right to enjoy a victory 21 seasons in the making. The 61 year old finally gets his chance to stand on top of the world and hoist the Lombardi Trophy.