Belichick, Shula, Lombardi ... Andy Reid? What multiple Super Bowls would do for Reid's legacy

Jason Owens
·4-min read

For years, Andy Reid’s legacy was that of a very good football coach.

The Kansas City Chiefs’ sideline leader and former Philadelphia Eagles head coach was billed as a savvy tactician who was well-liked by his players and respected by his peers.

His teams consistently won. They made the playoffs more often than not and posted a winning rate once they got there.

(Amber Matsumoto/Yahoo Sports)
What exactly would a second Super Bowl win mean for Reid's legacy? (Amber Matsumoto/Yahoo Sports)

Reid was good ... but not great

But for 20 seasons, they came up short of the ultimate goal. And Reid wasn’t mentioned among the greats of his era — names like Tony Dungy, Mike Tomlin, Bill Cowher and, of course, Bill Belichick.

Reid’s Eagles posted a .583 win percentage and secured nine trips to the playoffs, six NFC East titles and a trip to the Super Bowl over 14 seasons. They advanced to the NFC championship game four straight seasons from 2001-2004.

They frequently faltered on the biggest stages, and Reid developed a reputation as a clumsy game manager who let the clock — and opposing coaches — get the best of him.

“How many Philadelphia fans are screaming at the TV, saying ‘Hurry up!’?” Fox announcer Joe Buck wondered aloud as the Eagles showed a lack of urgency late in their Super Bowl loss to the New England Patriots in 2005.

That narrative has evolved in Kansas City, culminating last season in Reid securing his first Super Bowl ring after 21 years as an NFL head coach — a cathartic arrival for Reid alongside his contemporary greats.

Memes about Reid’s clock management are no more. Now he’s praised for his bravado in moments like a bold fourth-down call to beat the Cleveland Browns in the AFC divisional round with a throw from backup quarterback Chad Henne.

What will a 2nd Super Bowl win mean for Reid’s legacy?

On Sunday, he’s going for two straight titles — and a chance to etch his name alongside the NFL’s historically great coaches. It would continue a remarkable late-career legacy rewrite for Reid with plenty of blank pages remaining in his book.

The Super Bowl has produced 33 different winning coaches with Reid as the newest member of the club. Only 13 have multiple Super Bowl rings. A win for the Chiefs against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would place Reid’s name alongside two-time champions Don Shula, Vince Lombardi, Tom Landry, Bill Parcells, George Seifert, Jimmy Johnson, Mike Shanahan, Tom Flores and Tom Coughlin.

That’s a largely heavyweight list that includes a pair of names in Lombardi and Shula that would make the cut for almost anyone’s Super Bowl-era coaching Mt. Rushmore. How would Reid’s resume stack up against the competition?

His career win total of 221 is good for sixth all time and is eclipsed only by all-time wins leader Shula (328) and Landry (250) among two-time Super Bowl champions. His postseason win total of 17 is good for fourth all time, bested only by Shula, Belichick and Landry. Both of those numbers are bound to improve.

He’s a consistent winner. Only three of Reid’s 22 teams have posted losing records. Sixteen of his teams have made the playoffs. He’s followed up his run of four straight conference championship game appearances in Philadelphia with three — and running — in Kansas City.

Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots and head coach Andy Reid of the Kansas City Chiefs shake hands after the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Gillette Stadium on January 16, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Patriots defeated the Chiefs 27-20.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Will Andy Reid eventually stand alongside Bill Belichick on the short list of all-time great coaches? (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Can Reid join short list of all-time greats?

Win or lose on Sunday, Reid’s run with this Chiefs team is likely far from done. At 62 years old and armed with a transcendent 25-year-old quarterback in Patrick Mahomes, Reid doesn’t figure to call it quits anytime soon. Sunday doesn’t bode as any sort of ride off into the sunset moment.

There’s plenty of room for Reid to match and eclipse the list of two-time Super Bowl winners into ultra-elite air. Only four coaches lay claim to more than two Super Bowl rings — Joe Gibbs (3), Bill Walsh (3), Chuck Noll (4) and Belichick (6).

With the talent and youth loaded on the Chiefs’ roster, it’s reasonable to project Reid to eventually join that club — especially if Kansas City wins on Sunday. And then, one has to wonder about Reid’s potential place on the proverbial Mt. Rushmore.

For argument’s sake, let’s add Walsh and Belichick alongside Shula and Lombardi for now. Could Reid eventually bump one of those names off? While leaving names like Gibbs and Noll in his wake?

For frustrated Eagles fans and close observers of Reid’s 14 years in Philadelphia, it’s a laughable notion — or it was in the moment, at least. But the Chiefs are loaded and primed for a run like few other teams in NFL history. And Reid is on a roll as a head coach.

There’s a lot of potential winning left for Reid in the NFL. Legacy heights that once seemed out of his orbit are now well within reach.

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