Chiefs’ Andy Reid explains how coaching style led to success

Despite taking two different NFL teams to five conference championship games during a two-decade career as NFL head coach, Kansas City Chiefs’ Andy Reid had only achieved the Super Bowl only once.

But now he’s taken his team to the championship game for the second straight season – and his Chiefs are looking to become the first team to repeat as NFL champions since the New England Patriots eliminated the Eagles from Reid’s Philadelphia 16 years ago.

Recalled on Tuesday that coaches who have recently won the Super Bowl tend to be in their 50s and 60s, Reid acknowledged his age.

“I’m still part of Geritol’s team,” he chuckled. “We are a little older. There’s experience that comes with that – and I guess wisdom with age – but there are a lot of good young football managers that I can’t wait to see continue to grow in this profession. We are lucky to have them in the National Football League.

“Luckily a few of the older guys got to this point. I’d probably attribute that to the gamers – and a bit of experience there. In my case, I’m lucky to have a hell of a squad that I’ve been able to accumulate here over the past two years.

But part of Reid’s success also comes from his unique approach with players and coaches. After becoming Chiefs head coach in 2013, he established a reputation as a player coach – someone players say they play with instead of for. Reid said for him, it’s about treating others the way you’d like to be treated.

“I think we all want to be treated a certain way,” he said. “Otherwise, I know how I like to be treated: ‘Tell me what I need to do to get better at what I’m trying to accomplish.’

“You don’t necessarily have to yell and yell at me for me to do something better; I don’t think that’s necessarily the best approach. And I think after a little while I know [that] I would just turn that person off and not listen to anything they say.

“So I sort of go about it that way. I just try to treat people the way they want to be treated. Whether it’s through what I’ve learned in church or in family, I think that we are here as teachers and that is what I am doing.

“I consider myself a teacher of – in my case – of men. Young men. And whether it’s on the court or off the court, if I can give them any experience that I might have had to help them become better players – or husbands or fathers, whatever – I try to do.

Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images

This is not the way we traditionally think of football coaches: hard-working masterminds who instill discipline in their players. But in Kansas City, Reid’s approach quickly paid off. After the team finished 2-14 in 2012, he and new general manager John Dorsey made relatively few personnel moves – the most notable being the acquisition of veteran quarterback Alex Smith to stabilize the offense – and immediately took the team to the playoffs with an 11-5 record.

Kansas City has consistently won, reaching the playoffs in seven of Reid’s eight seasons. After 2017, Patrick Mahomes replaced Smith. In 2019, Steve Spagnuolo replaced Bob Sutton as defensive coordinator. A year ago, the Chiefs won their first Super Bowl in 50 years – and after posting the best record in franchise history and winning their fifth consecutive division title, they now find themselves in a position to repeat in as champions.

And through it all, soft-spoken Reid continued to keep it real.

“What I do is communicate,” he said. “I think if you tell the person the truth – whether it’s a positive with their personality or their acting or a negative with their personality or their acting. I think you keep that in an open form; [it’s] how to raise a child or [be in] marriage or any relationship with another human being.

Reid said he learned he didn’t need to motivate his players. they are already wired that way.

“I’m in a company where these guys want to be the best; that’s what they want to do,” he explained. “They don’t want to be embarrassed. They don’t want to embarrass themselves or their family. They don’t want to do that; that’s just not what they want to do. What I’ve found with great players is that they want you to give them one more thing to make them even better. That’s how I approach it. »